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Full text of "Studies of nature (Volume 2)"

V'^' ■■•■ 



NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE 

Bethesda, Maryland 



i. MICHAEL F. MILLS. 



MICHAEL F. IVIILLS, 



STUDIES 



NATURE. 

BY 
JAMES-HENRY-BERNARDIN DE SAINT-PIERRE. 



...MISEIUS SUCCVRRERE DISCO. 



TRANSLATED BY 

HENRY HUNTER, D. D. 

MINISTER OF THE SCOTS CHURCH, LONDON-WALL. 
WITH THE ADDITION OF NUMEROUS 

ORIGINAL NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS, 

BY BENJAMIN SMITH BARTON, M. D. 

Preaident of the Philadelphia Linnean Society, and Professor of Materia Medica, Natural Historr 
and Botany, in the University of Pennsylvania. 

IN THREE VOLUMES. 

VOL. 11. 
PHILADELPHIA: 

PRINTED BY ABRAHAM SMALL, 

FOR BIRCH & SMALL, M. CAREY, C. & A. CONRAD & CO. W. W. WOODWARD, 

JACOB JOHNSON, AND KIMBER AND CONRAD, IN PHILADELPHIA ; 

THOMAS AND ANDREWS, BOSTON ; CAMPBELL AND MITCHELL, 

NEW.YORK J AND BACKUS AND WHITINO, ALBANY. 

1808. 






CONTENTS. 

VOL. n 

J>AGE-. 

EXPLANATION of the Plates. 

Flowers. Plate III. .... iji 

Volatile Grains. Plate IV. • - - - y 

Aquatic Grains. Plate V, - • . - vii 

SEQ.UEL TO 

STUDY X Of the Human Figure ... . . i 

Of Concerts 20 

Of some other Laws of Nature hitherto imperfectly 

known - - - - 30 

STUDY XI Application of some general Laws of Nature to Plants 53 

Elementaiy Harmonies of Plants - - - 63 
JElementary Harmonies of Plants -with the Sun, bi/ the 

Flowers ...... . iO. 

Elementary Harmonises of Plants with the Water and 

the Jlir, by means of their leaves and their fruits 83 

Vegetable Harmonies of Plants .... 105 

Animal Harmonies of Plants .... 135 

Human Harmonies of Plants ... 15Q 

Elemeiitary Harmonies of Plants, relatively to Jifan id. 

Vegetable Harmonies of Plants with J\Ian - - 1 68 

Animal Harmonies of Plants with Man - 1 ~,> 

Human, or Elementary Harmonies of Plants - ] 75 

rjvTUDY Xn Of some Moral Laws of Nature - - 300 

Weakness of Reason, of Feeling- ; Proofs of the Di- 
vinity, and of the Tmmcrtality of the Soul from. 

Feeling . . . . . ib 

Of Physical Sensations - - - 222 

Of the Sense of Tasting - - - 223 

Of the Sense of Smelli/ig • - - 224 

Of the Sense of Seeing • - - - 22 J 

Of the Sense of Hearing - - • 231 

Of the Sense ofTouchiiig • ■ - 234 

Of the Sentiments of the Soul, and first, 

Of mental ^iffections . - . . . 237 

Of the Sentiment of Innocence - - - 239 

Of Pity ....-- 240 

Of the Love of Country ..... 242 

Of the Sentiment of Admiration - - - 244 

Of the jyfarvellous - • - ib 

The Pleasure of Mystery ... . 24G 

The Pleasure ofIgiw:a-'^- - - ■ ."M" 

Vol. IL a 



ii CONTENTS. 

PAGE. 

Of tlie Sentiment of Melancholy - - - 250 

The Pleasure of Ruin ... - - 252 

The Pleasure of Tombs . - - - 258 

Rui7is of Jfature - - - - • 261 

The Pleasure of Solitude ... - 263 

Of the Sentiment of Love - - - *"*• 
Of some other Sentiments of Deity, and, among others, 

of that ofVu-tue - - - . - 278 

STUDY XIII...,Application of the Laws of Natm-e to the Disorders of 

Society - 291 

Of Paris 338 

Of Nobility --:-.-- 374 

Of an Elysium - - - - - - 377 

Of the Clergy ...-.- 398 

STUDY XIV Of Education 402 

National Schools - - - . - 418 

Recapitulation 442 

Sequel to the Studies of Nature - - - 462 



EXPLANATION OF THE PLATES. 

FLOWERS. PLATE IIL 

VOLUME IL...PAGE 73. 

AS the explanation of this Plate is inserted in the text, all I shall say of 
Tt here is this, that the forms of flowers, which have a direct relation to the 
Sun, may all be reduced to those five primary patterns of flowers, to rever- 
berated, perpendicular, conic, spheric, elliptic, and plane or parabolic ; and 
flowers which have negative relations to the Sun, to the five other patterns of 
flowers in parasol, which are here represented in contrast with the first. . At 
the same time, though these last be of foi"ms much more diversified than re- 
verberated flowers, all their negative species may be reierred to those five 
positive foi-ms. 

I am of opinion, that if there were added to those five positive, or primor- 
dial forms, a certain number of accents, to express the modification of them, 
we should have the true characters of the florification, and an alphabet of 
that agreeable part of vegetation. I likewise presume that b)' means of this 
alphabet, it might be possible to characterize, on geographical Charts, the 
different sites of the vegetable kingdom. It would be sufticient to apply tlie 
•signs of tliem to the forests which are there represented; for on s eing in 
the Chart, for the sake of supposition, that of the reverberated perpendicular, 
expressed by an ear of corn, or a pi'ominent cone, v/e should instantlj- distin- 
guisli in it the forests of the North, or tliose of cold and lofty mountains. 
Particular accents, superadded to this character of prominent cone, would 
distinguish from each otlier the pine, the cpicea, the laryx, and the ccdai* ; 
and rays issiung from these modified characters, would indicate the extent 
of the kingdoms of those diflx;rent species of trees. The thing is not so diffi- 
«ult as may be imagined. Geography easily represents forests ujion maps; 
:ill that would be farther requisite, therefore, is to affix to them certain signs, 
ill order to ascertain their species, and those signs might likewise character- 
ize, as we have seen, the latitude, or the elevation of the soil. Besides, we 
-should leave out of such botanical Cliarts a multitude of political divisions, 
the names of which, in large characters, useless!} fill up a great deal of room. 
We should represent tiieni in the domains of Nature only, and not tlu)se of 
men. Thus by means of these botanical signs, we might distinguish, at a 
single glance, on a map, the productions natural to each soil, the forests 
•with their different species of trees, nay, the meadows too with the varieties 
of their herbage. There might be farther conveyed the humidity or the dr\ - 
ncss of the territory, by adding to the signs of the flowers, the characters of 



iv EXPLANATION OF THE PLATES. 

the leaves and seeds of vegetables. To these might afterwards be affixed, 
on the cities and villages represented, ciphers expressing the number of fami- 
lies which inhabit them, as I have seen in Turkish maps : thus we should 
have Charts really geographic, presenting at the first glance, an image of the 
richness and of the temperature of the territory, and of the number of it's 
inhabitants. After all, this is not a plan which I presume to prescribe, but 
ideas which I have ventured to suggest, to be pursued, improved, and brought 
to perfection. 



EXPtANATION OF THE PLATE6. V 

VOLATILE GRAINS. PLATE IV. 

VOLiUME II PAGE 93. 

HERE is presented, on the one hand, the spuitha, or rush of the Spanish 
mountains, hollowed into a gutter, for the purpose of receiving- the rain wa- 
iter ; and, on the other, the cyllndric or full rush of the marshes. The grain 
of this last resembles in it's state of expansion the eggs of a lobster. I have 
not been able to procure any of the grains of the spartha ; but I have no 
doubt that, in opposition to those of the rush of the marshes, it must have a 
volatile character. I do not so much as know whether the spartha fructifies 
in our climate. Messrs. Thouin, the principal gardeners of the lloyal Garden 
at Paris, could easily have gratified my curiosity in tliis respect. To these 
gentlemen I stand indebted for furnishing me with most of the grains and 
leaves which I have got engraved for this Work, among others the cone of 
the cedar of Lebanon ; but accustomed in my solitaiy studies to investigate 
in Nature alone the solution of the difficulties which she tlu-ows in my way, I 
did not make application to them, though their hearts are replete with libe- 
rality and complaisance toward the ignorant as well as the leai'ncd. 

Whatever the case may be as to this, it is to the fruit that Natui-e attaches 
the character of volatility ; and it is by the leaf that she indicates the nature of 
the site in which the vegetable is destined to grow. Accordingly we perceive 
in this plate the cone of the cedar to be composed of thin flakes, like the ar- 
tichoke. Every flake carries it's kernel ; such is the one hero represented 
detached from the cone ; and each of them, as the fruit comes to maturity, 
flies off, by the help of the winds, toward the summit of the lofty mountains 
to which it is destined. Remark likewise that the leaves of the cedar are 
filiform ; in order to resist the winds, which arc violent on lofty mountains, 
and they are aggregated into clustei's resembling pencils, for the purpose of 
collecting in the air the vapours which float about in it. Each leaf of this 
tree has more than one aqueduct traced in it lengthwise ; but being extreme- 
ly minute, it was impossible to express it in the engraving. Farther, that 
filiform and capillaceous shape, so well adapted to resisting the winds, as 
well as that which is of the sword blade form, is common to vegetables of 
the mountains, such as pines, larches, cedars, palm-trees ; it is hkcwise fre- 
quently found on the edge of waters equally exposed to violent winds, as in 
rushes, reeds, the leaves of the willow : but the foliage of these last differs, 
essentially from that of the first, in that there is no aqueduct in it, whereat^ 
tlie leaves of mountain vegetables have one ; neither is their aggregation 
similar. 

The dandelion grows like the cedar, in dry and elevated situations. It's 
grains are suspended to a complete sphere of shuttle-cocks, which forms out 
wardly a very regular polyedron, having a multitude of hexagonal or penta 
gonal faces. These faces arc not expressed in the prliU, because it has beeii 
copied after that of a highly valued botanical Work, but which, like books in 
every department of litcratmv, collects only the characters which make for r. 



VI EXPLANATION OF THE PLATES. 

favourite system. The leaf of the dandelion particularly determines it's na- 
tural site ; it is broad and fleshy, because expanding itself close to the 
ground, on which it forms stars of vei-dure, it has nothmg to fear from the 
winds : it is deeply indented, like the teeth of a saw, for the purpose of open- 
utg a passage to the grasses ; and it's indentings are bent inward to catch 
the rain-water, and convey it to the roots. Thus Nature adapts the means 
to each subject, and redoubles her attention in proportion to it's weakness. 
The sphere of the dandelion is more artfully formed than the cone of the 
cedar, and beyond all contradiction much more volatile. It requires a tem- 
pest to carry the seeds of the cedar to any considerable distance ; but the 
breath of the zephjT is sufficient to resow those of the dandelion. A Leba- 
non is likewise necessary for planting the first ; but the second needs only a 
mole-hill. This small vegetable is likewise more useful in the World than 
the cedar ; it serves for food to a great many quadrupeds, and to a variety 
of small birds, which fatten on it's grains. It is very salutary to the human 
species, especially in the Spring season. We accordingly find gi-eat numbers 
of poor people at that time picking up it's young shoots in the fields. It is 
moreover the only plant which Nature presents gratuitously to Man in our 
Climates. It universally thrives in diy places, and even in'the seams of the 
pavement. It frequently carpets the coui't -yards of Hotels, the masters of 
which are not ovcr-burthened with vassals, and seems to invite the miserable 
to walk in. It's gold coloured flowers very agreeably enamel the foot of the 
walls, and it's feathered sphere, raised upon a long shaft, in the bosom of a 
s-f ar of verdure, is by no means destitute of beaut}'. 

It is the leaf then which particularly determines the natural site of a vege- 
table ; for as we have seen there are aquatic plants which have their grains 
volatile, because they grow on the brink of lakes or marshes which have no 
currents, such as tlie willow and the reed ; but their leaves in that case have 
no aqueduct. Nay, there are some which have a pendent direction, and 
w^hich from that attitude refuse to admit the water from Heaven. The ma- 
ple of Virginia, which delights in the brinks of lakes, marshes, and creeks, 
has grains attached to membraneous wings, resembling those of a fly, as the 
seeds of the moumain maple represented in the plate. But there is this re- 
markable difference between them, that the broad leaf of the first is pendent, 
and attached to a long tail ; that this tail, so far from being furnished with 
an aqueduct has a ridge ; and that the leaf of the mountain maple, which is 
of a moderate size, angular and barky, for resisting the winds, rises almost 
■•■.n-tically, and bears an aqueduct on it's tail, to receive tlic v\aters of Heaven 



EXPLANATION OF THE PLATES. Vll 

AQUATIC GRAINS. PLATE V. 

VOLUME II PAGE 105. 

AQUATIC GRAINS have characters entirely opposite to those which are 
produced on the mountains ; if we except, as has been said, those whicli 
thrive on the brink of stagnant waters ; but even these possess at once vola- 
tile and nautical characters, for they are amphibious. They swim along the 
surface of the water, and they fly through the air ; such is that of the willow 
and several others. It is the leaf which determines the site, as we have ob- 
served, for aquatic plants never have any aqueduct on their leaves. Nay, 
most of them repel the water. The leaves of the nymphaea and of the reed 
are never wet. It is likewise so with those of the nasturtium, which are 
never humid, however copiously the rain may fall, though that plant is ex- 
cessively fond of the water ; for the culture of it consumes an incredible 
quantity. I am persuaded that if a morass were sown with plants of this sort, 
it would be speedily dried up. The leaf of the martinia of Vera Cruz, which 
is here represented among aquatic plants, is, on the contrary, always humid. 
It has even in it's first expansion a fluting on it's tail. From this double 
mountain character I am disposed to suspect that the martinia naturally 
grows on the parched and sandy shores of the Sea ; for Nature, in the view 
of varying her harmonies, extends very dry places along the brink of the wa- 
ters, just as she deposits sheets of water and morasses in the bosom of moun- 
tains. But from the form of the pod of the martinia, which resembles a hook 
for fishing gilt-heads, I believe it to be destined to grow in situations exposed 
to inundations of the Sea, as is in fact the case with the territory of Vera 
Cruz, from whence this species originally is. I presume therefore that when 
the shores of Vera Cruz are overflowed by high tides, you must see fishes 
caught by this plant, for the stem of it's pod is not easily broken off"; it's 
two crotchets are pointed like fishing-hooks, are elastic, and hard as horn. 
Besides when it is soaked in water, it's fuiTows, shaded with black, shine as 
if they were filled with globules of quick-silver. Now the lustre of this light 
is a farther bait to attract the fishes. I present these merely as conjectures ; 
but I found them on a principle which is indubitably certain, najnely, That 
Nature has made nothing in vain 



STUDIES OF NATURE. 



SEQUEL TO STUDY X. 



OF THE HUMAN FIGURE. 



jtVLL the harmonic expressions are combined in die Human 
Figure. In treating this article, I shall confine myself to the 
examination of some of those which compose the head of Man. 
Observe it's form in an approximation to the spherical, which, 
as we have seen, is the form by way of excellence- I do not be- 
lieve that this configuration is common to it with that of any 
animal whatever. On it's anterior part is traced the oval of the 
face, terminated by the triangle of the nose, and encompassed 
by the radiations of tlie hair. The head is, besides, supported 
by a neck of considerably less diameter than itself, which de- 
taches it from the body by a concave part. 

This slight sketch presents to us at first glance the five har- 
monic terms of the elementary generation of forms- The hair 
exhibits lines ; the nose the triangle ; die head the sphere ; the 
face the oval ; and the void under the chin die parabola. The 
neck which like a column sustains the head, exhibits likewise 
the very agreeable harmonic form of the cylinder, composed of 
the circular and quadrilateral. 

These forms, however, are not traced in a stiff" and geometri- 
cal manner, but imperceptibly run into each other, and mutu?Jly 
blend as the parts of the same whole ought to do. Th-. . :he 
hair does not fall in straight lines, but in flowing ringle:.., md 
harmonizes with the oval of the face. The triangle of the nose 
is neither acute, nor does it present a right angle ; but, b\- the 
undulatory swelling of the nostrils, presents a harmony with the 
heart-form of the mouth, and sloping toward the forehead, 
melts away into the cavities of the eyes. The spheroid of the 

Vol- II. A 



2 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

head in like manner amalgamates with the oval of the face. 
The same thing holds with respect to the other parts, as Nature- 
employs in their general combination the roundings of the fore- 
head, of the cheeks, of the chin, of the neck, that is, portions ot 
the most beautiful of harmonic expressions, namely the sphere. 

There are farther several remarkable proportions which form 
with each other very pleasing harmonies and contrasts : such is 
that of the forehead, which presents a quadrilateral form in op- 
position to the triangle, composed of the eyes and the mouth ; 
and that of the ears, formed of veiy ingenious acoustic curves, 
such as are not to be met with in the auditory organ of animals, 
because in the case of mere animals the ear is not intended to 
collect, like that of a Man, all the modulations of speech. 

But I must be permitted to expatiate somewhat more at large 
on the charming forms assigned by Nature to the eyes and the 
mouth, which she has placed in the full blaze of evidence, be- 
cause they are the two active organs of the soul. The mouth 
consists of two lips, of which the upper is moulded into the 
shape of a heart, that form so lovely as to have become prover- 
bial for it's beauty ; and the under is rounded into a demi-cyliri- 
dric segment. In the opening between the lips we have a 
glimpse of the quadrilateral figure of the teeth, whose perpen- 
dicular and parallel lines contrast most agreeably with the round 
forms adjoining, and so much the more, as we have seen that 
the first generative term being brought into union with the su- 
premely excellent harmonic term, that is, the straight line with 
the spherical form, the most harmonic of all contrasts results 
from it. 

The same relations are to be found in the eyes, the forms of 
which combine still more the harmonic elementary expressions ; 
as it was fit the chief of all the organs should do. They are 
two globes fringed on the lids with eye-lashes, radiating with 
divergent pencil-strokes, which form with them a most delight- 
ful contrast, and present a striking consonance with the Sun, af- 
ter which they seem to have been modelled, having like that orb 
a spherical figure, encircled with divergent rays in the eye- 
lashes ; having a movement of self-rotation, and possessing the 
power, like him, of veiling themselves in clouds by means of 
iheir lids. 



STUDY X. 5 

The same elementary harmonies may be traced in the co- 
lours of the head, as well as in its forms ; for we have in the 
face the pure white exhibited in the teeth and in the eyes ; then 
the shades of yellow which dissolve into it's carnation, as the 
Painters well know j after that the red, the eminently excel- 
lent colour, which glows on the lips and on the cheeks. You 
farmer remark the blue of the veins, and sometimes that of the 
eye-balls ; and finally the black of the hair, which by it's opposi- 
tion gives relief to the colours of the face, as the vacuum of the 
neck detaches the forms of the head. 

You will please to observe, that Nature employs not, in de-^ 
corating the human face, colours harshly opposed ; but blends 
them, as she does the forms, softly and insensibly into each 
other. Thus the white melts here into the yellow, and there 
into the red. The blue of the veins has a greenish cast. The 
hair is rarely of a jet black ; but brown, chesnut, flaxen, and in 
general of a colour into which a slight tint of the carnation en- 
ters, in order to prevent a violently harsh opposition. You will 
farther observe, that as she employs spherical segments in form- 
ing the muscles which \inite the organs, and in order particulai-ly 
to distinguish these veiy organs, she makes use of red for the 
same purpose. She has accordingly extended a slight shade of 
it to the forehead, which she has strengthened upon the cheeks, 
and which she has applied pure and unmixed to the mouth, 
that organ of the heart, where it forms a most agreeable con- 
trast with the whiteness of the teeth. The union of this colour 
with that harmonic form is the most pow^erful consonance of 
beauty ; and it is worthy of remark, that wherever the spherical 
forms swell, there the red colour strengthens, except in the eyes. 

As the eyes are the principal organs of the soul, they are des- 
tined to express all it's emotions ; which could not have been 
done with the harmonic red tint, for this would have given but 
one single expression. Nature, in order there to express the 
contrary passions, has united in the eye the two most opposite 
of colours, the white of the oi-bit and the black of the iris, and 
sometimes of the ball, wlych form a very harsh opposition, when 
the globes of the eyes are displayed in the full extent of their 
diameter; bu't by means of the eye-lids, which Man can con- 
tract or dilate at pleasure, he is^abled to give them the expres- 
sion of all the passions from love to fur\'. 



4 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

Those eyes whose balls are blue are naturally the softest, be- 
cause the opposition in this case is less harsh with the adjacent- 
white ; but they are the most terrible of all when animated with 
rage, and this from a moral contrast which constrains us to con- 
sider those as the most formidable of all objects, that menace 
evil, after having encouraged us to expect good. Persons there- 
fore w^ho are thus distinguished, ought to be carefully on their 
guard against treachery to that character of benevolence bestow- 
ed on them by Nature ; for blue eyes express by their colour 
something enchantingly celestial. 

As to the movements of the muscles of the face, it would be 
extremely difficult to describe them, though I am fully persuad- 
ed it might be possible to explain their Laws. Whoever shall 
attempt this, must of necessity refer them to the moral affec- 
tions. Those of joy ai'e horizontal, as if the soul, in the enjoy- 
ment of felicity, had a disposition to extend itself. Those of 
chagrin are pei-pendicular, as if, under the pressure of calamity, 
the mind was looking toward Heaven for refuge, or segjcing it 
in the bosom of the earth. Into such an explanation of the 
Laws of muscular motion must likewise enter the alterations of 
colours, and the contractions of forms, and in these at least we 
shall discover the truth of the principle which we have laid 
down, that the expression of pleasure is in the harmony of con- 
traries blending with each other in colours, forms, and motions ; 
and that the expression of pain consists in the violence of their 
oppositions. The eyes alone have motions ineffable and it is 
remarkable, that under the influence of very strong emotions 
they are suffused with tears, and thus seem to have a farther 
analogy with the orb of day, who in the season of tempests 
shrouds himself in rainy distillations. 

The principal organs of sense, four of which are placed in the 
head, have particular contrasts, which detach their spherical 
forms by means of radiated forms ; and their shining colours by 
means of dusky tints. Thus the bright organ of vision is con- 
trasted by the eye -brows ; those of smell and taste by the mus- 
taches ; the organ of hearing by that part of the hair called the 
favourite lock, which separates the ear from tKe. face; and the 
face itself is distinguished from the rest of the head \w the 
beard and bv the hair. • 



STUDY X. 5 

We shall not here examine the other proportions of the hu- 
man figure in the cylindric form of the neck, opposed to the 
spheroid of the head, and to the plane surface of the breast; the 
hemispherical forms of the paps, which contrast with the flatness 
of the chest ; as well as the cylindrical pyramids of the arms and 
fingers with the omoplate of the shoulders ; the consonances of 
the fingers with the arms, by means of three similar articula- 
tions, with a multitude of other curvatures and of other harmo- 
nies, which hitherto have not so much as a name in any language, 
though they are in every country tlie all-powerful expression of 
beauty. 

The human body is the only one which unites in itself the 
modulations and the concerts, inexpressibly agreeable, of the five 
elementary forms and of the five primordial colours, without ex- 
hibiting any thing of the harsh and rude oppositions perceptible 
in the brute creation, such as the prickles of the hedgehog, the 
horns of the bull, the tusks of the wild-boar, the fangs of the 
lion, th^narbled skin of the dog, and the livid and disgusting 
colours of venomous animals. It is the only one of which the 
first touch ip perceptible, and which you can see completely ; 
other animals being disguised under hair, or feathers, or scales, 
which conceal their limbs, their shape, their skin. Farther, it is 
the only form which, in it's perpendicular attitude, displays all 
it's positions and directions at once ; for you can hardly perceive 
more of a quadruped, of a bird, of a fish, than one half, in the 
horizontal position which is proper to*them, because the upper 
part of their body conceals the under. 

We must likewise remark, that Man's progressive motion is 
subject to neither the shocks nor the tardiness of movement of 
most quadrupeds, nor to the rapidity of that of birds ; but is 
the result of movement the most harmonic, as his figure is of 
forms and of colours the most delightful.* 

• It lui3 been maintained by certain celebrated Authors, that the Negroes 
consider their own colour as more beautiful than that of the whites ; but it is 
a mistake. I have put many a question on tliis subject to black people who 
were in my own service in the Isle of France, and who were at perfect liberty 
to tell what they really thought, especially on a subject so indifferent to slaves, 
as the beauty of the whites. I sometimes asked them whether of the two 
they would prefer, a black wife or a white ? They never hesitated an instant 
in decl.iring- their preference of tl.e wliite women. Xay, I have seen a Ne- 
gro who had been almost flayed alive by the wliipvin one of our plantations. 



6 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

The more that the multiplied consonances of the human figure 
are agreeable, the more disgusting are it's dissonances. Thia 
is the reason that, on the face of the Earth, there is nothing so 

express the highest delig-ht when the scars of his sores began to whiten, be- 
cause it suggested the hope that he was thereby going to change colour, and 
to be negro no longer. The poor wretch would gladly have parted with his 
whole hide to become white. This preference we shall be told is, in that case 
the effect of the superiority which they are obliged to ascribe to the Europe- 
ans. But the tyranny of their masters ought rather to inspire abhorrence of 
the colour. Besides, the black men and women of our colonies express the 
same tastes that our peasantry at home do, for stuffs of lively and glaring 
colom-s. Their supreme luxury in dress is a red handkerchief tied round the 
head. Nature has bestowed no other tints on the roses of Africa than upou 
those of Europe. 

If the judgment of black slaves is considered as a suspicious authority on 
the subject, wc may refer the decisions to the Sovereigns of Africa, who are 
under no temptation to dissemble. They fairly acknowledge that in this, as 
well as in many other respects, they have been more hardly dealt with than 
the Europeans. African Princes have made frequent application to the Go- 
vernors of the English, Dutch, and French settlements on the coa^for wliite 
women, imder a promise of very ample privileges in return. Lamb, an Eng- 
lish agent at Ardra, when prisoner to the King of Dahomay, in the year 1724, 
sent word to the Governor of the English fort of Juida, that if he could send 
a white man, or even a mulatto, to this Prince, she might acquire an unbound- 
ed influence over his mind. ( General Hiatory of Voyages, by the Abbe Prcvost, 
book viii. page 96.) 

Another King, on a difierent pai't of the coast of Africa, promised one day 
to a Capuchin Missionary, who was preaching the Gospel in his presence, to 
dismiss his seraglio, and embrace Christianity, if he would procure him a 
white v.'oman to wife. The zealous Missionary immediately repaired to '.he 
nearest Poilugueze settlement ; and having enquired whether there might not 
be among them some pui'e and virtuous damsel, such as might suit his pur- 
pose, he was informed of such apei'son, the niece of a decayed man of family, 
wlio lived in a state of great privacy. He vraited for her one Sunday morning- 
at the door of the church, as she wa^ returning from mass with her kinsman ; 
and addressing himself to the uncle before all the people, charged him, in the 
name of God, and as lie valued the interests of religion, that he would bestow 
his niece in marriage on the Negro King. The gentleman and his niece hav- 
ing given their consent, the black Prince married her, after having dimissed 
all his other women, and received public baptism. {History of Ethiopia, by 
Labat.) 

The best informed travellers relate many such anecdotes of a similar pre- 
ference expressed by the black Sovereigns of Africa, and of southern Asia. 
Thomas Roive, Ambassador from England at the Court of the Mogul Selim- 
Scha, relates, that a very cordial reception was given by this powerful Mo- 
narch to certain Portugueze Jesuits, who had come as missionaries into his 
dominions, with a view to obtain, through their means, some women of their 



STUDY X. r 

beautiful as a handsome man, nothing so shocking as a very- 
ugly one. 

This farther suggests a reason why it will be forever impos- 
sible for art to produce a perfect imitation of the human figure, 
from the difficulty of uniting in it all the harmonies ; and from 
the still greater difficulty of effecting a complete combination of 
those which are of a different nature. For example, the Pain- 
country to recruit his seraglio. He began with confen-ing' on them singular 
privileges ; had apartments provided for them in the vicinity of his palace, 
and admitted them to his most intiniate familiarity : but perceiving that those 
good fathers discovered no great inclination to gratify his desires, he practised 
a very ingenious artifice to draw them into compliance. He expressed an 
extreme partiality to the Christian Religion ; and pretending that he was re- 
strained jnerely by reasons of State from openly embracing it, he gave strict 
orders to two of his nephews to attend punctually on the catechetical instruc- 
tions of the missionaries. When the young men had acquired a competent de- 
gree of knowledge, he enjoined them to get themselves baptized, and this be- 
ing complied with, he thus addressed them : " It is now no longer in your power 
" to maiTy pagan women, and of this country ; for you have made profession 
" of Christianity. It is the duty of the fathers who baptized you to procure you 
** wives. Tell them they must send to Portugal for women to be your bi'ides." 
The young proselytes did not fail to make this demand on the good fathers ; 
who suspecting that the Mogul's real intention, in marrying his nephews to 
Portugueze wives, was to procure a supply of white women for his seraglio, 
refused to engage in this negociation. Tlieir refusal highly incensed Selim- 
Schu, and exposed them to much persecution : he immediately commanded 
his nephews to renounce Christianity. {Memoirs of Thomas Ro-iue, T/icve7iot*s 
Collection.) 

The black colour of the skin is, as we shall presently see, a blessing from- 
Heaven to the Nations of the South, because it absorbs the reflexes of the 
burning Sun under which they live. But the men of those Nations do not the 
less on that account consider white women as more beautiful than the black, 
for the same reason that they think the day more beautiful than the night, be- 
cause the harmonics of colours andof lights render themselves perceptible in 
the complexion of the whites, whereas they almost entirely disappear in that 
of the blacks, who can pretend to no competition with the others in point of 
beauty, except as to form and stature. 

The proportions of the human figure having been taken, as we have just 
seen, from the most beautiful forms of Nilture, are become in their turn mo- 
dels of beauty for Man. If we attend to this, we shall find that the forms 
which please us most in works of art, as those of antique vases, and the rela- 
tions of height and breadth in monuments, have been taken from the human 
figure. It is well known that tlie Ionic column, with it's capital and it's flut- 
ings, was imitated after the shape, the head-dress, and the drapery of the 
Grecian young M'omen 



8 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

ter may succeed tolerably in imitating the colours of the face, 
and the Sculptor in expressing it's forms. But were an attempt 
made to unite the harmony of colours and of forms in a single 
bust, such a production will be very inferior to a mere picture, 
or to a mere piece of sculpture, because it will combine particu- 
lar dissonances of colours and of forms, besides their general 
dissonance, which is still more strongly marked. If to these it 
were farther attempted to add the harmony of movements, as in 
the case of an automaton, this would only aggravate the mcon- 
gruity. Were art to continue it's effort, and try to bestow the 
gift of speech likewise, this must produce a fourth dissonance, 
which would be absolutely hideous ; for here the intellectual 
system would clash frightfully with the physical system. It is 
accordingly matter of no surprize to me that St. Thomas Aquinas 
was so shocked at the speaking head, in constructing which, his 
master Albert the Great had employed so many years, that under 
the influence of horror he instantly broke it to shivers. It must 
have produced on him the same impression which he would 
have felt had he heard an articulate voice issuing out of a dead 
man's mouth. Such labours in general do the Artist much 
honour ; but they demonstrate the weakness of Art, which falls 
below Nature just in proportion as it aims at uniting more of 
her harmonies. Instead of blending them, as Nature herself 
does. Art can only place them in opposition. 

All this proves the truth of the principle which we have laid 
down, namely, that harmony results from the union of two con- 
traries, and discord from their collision : and the more agreeable 
that the harmonies of an object are, the more disgusting are it's 
discordances. This is the real origin of pleasure and of dis- 
like in physics as in morals, and the reason why the same object 
so frequently excites affection and aversion. 

A great variety of very interesting reflections remain to be 
made on the human figure, especially by connecting with it the 
moral sensations, which alone give expression to the features. 
We shall introduce some of these in the sequel of this Work, 
when we come to speak of sentiment. Be it as it may, the 
physical beauty of Man is so striking in the eyes even of the 
animal creation, that to it principally must be ascribed the em- 
pire which he excercises over them in every part of the Earth. 



STUDY X. 9 

llic feeble flee for refuge under his protection, and the most 
powerful tremble at sight of him. Math'iola relates, that the 
lark will save herself amidst troops of men when she perceives 
the bird of prey hovering over her. The reality of this instinct 
was confirmed to me by an officer who was once an eye-witness 
of one in such circumstances, fleeing for safety among a very dis- 
tinguished squadron of cavalry in which he then served ; but the 
trooper whose particular protection she sought, trampled her to 
death under his horse's feet ; a most barbarous action, which 
drew on him, and justly, the indication of every good man in 
the corps. 

I myself have seen a stag, when run down by the hounds, 
appeal with sobs for relief to the compassion of persons acciden- 
tally passing that way. Plmy relates a similar fact, and it is con- 
sistent with my own experience when I was in the Isle of France? 
which I have detailed in the journal of my Voyage to that Is- 
land. I have seen in the farm yards the India hens, under the 
impulse of love, go and throw themselves chuckling at the feet 
of the country people. If we meet less frequently with instan- 
ces of the eff'ect of animal confidence in Man, it is because of 
the noise of our fowling pieces scaring them incessantly, and of 
the continual other persecutions which the}' are doomed to un- 
dergo. 

It is well known with what familiarity the monkeys, and fowls 
of all kinds, approach travellers in the forests of India.* I have 
seen at the Cape of Good-Hope, in Cape-town itself the shores 
of the Sea swarming with water-fowls, which perched confident- 
ly on the shallops, and a large wild pelican playing close by the 
custom-house with a great dog, whose head she took into her 
enormous beak. This spectacle conveyed to me from the mo- 
ment of my arrival, a most powerful impression in favour oi the 
happiness of that countiy, and of the humanity of it's inhabitants: 
nor did my conjecture deceive me. 

But dangerous animals on the contrary are seized with terror 
at the sight of Man, unless they be driven from their natural 
bias by some pressing necessity. An Elephant will sufter him- 
self to be led about in Asia by a little child. The African lion 
retires growling from the cabin of the Hottentot ; surrenders up 

* Sec Bcrrtkr and Mandtsto. 

Vol. II. B 



10 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

to him the possessions of his ancestors, and seeks for himself « 
kingdom far remote, in forests and among rocks untrodden by 
the foot of Man. The immense whale, amidst his native ele- 
ment, trembles and flees away before the puny bark of the Lap- 
lander. And thus to this day is executed that all potent Law 
which secured empire to Man, though sunk into guilt and 
Avretchedness : " And the fear of you, and the dread of you, shall 
" be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the 
" air ; upon all that nioveth upon the earth, and upon all tho 
*' fishes of the sea ; into your hand are they delivered."* 

It is singularly remarkable, that through the whole extent of 
Nature there is no animal whatever, nor plant, nor fossil, nor 
even globe, but what has it's consonance and it's contrast out of 
itself, Man excepted. No one visible being enters into society 
with him but either as his servant or as his slave. 

We must undoubtedly reckon among the human proportions 
that Law so universal, and so wonderful, which produces males " 
and females in equal numbers. Did chance preside over 
the generation of the human race as over our alliances, we 
should one year have an unmixed crop of male children, aq^d 
another a race entirely female. Some nations would consist wholly 
of men, and others wholly of women ; but all over the Globe the 
two sexes are bom, within the same space of time, equal in 
number. A consonance so regular clearly demonstrates that a 
Providence is continually watching over the affairs of Mankind, 
notwithstanding the absurdity and disorder of human institu- 
tions. This may be considered as a standing testimony to the 
truth of our religion, which likewise limits Man to one Woman 
in Marriage, and, by this conformity to natural Laws peculiar 
to itself, seems alone to have emanated from the author of 
Nature. It may fairly be concluded on the contrary, that a re- 
ligion which permits or connives at a plurality of wives must be 
erroneous." 

Ah ! how little acquainted are they with the Laws of Nature 
who in the union of the two sexes, look for nothing farther than 
the pleasures of sense! They are only culling the flowers of life, 
Avithout once tasting of it's fruit. The fair sex ! this is the 
phrase of our men of pleasure ; women are known to thcui un- 



STUDY X. 11 

der no other idea. But the sex is fair only to persons who have 
no other faculty except that of eye-sight. It is besides, to those 
who have a heart, the creative sex, which at the peril of life 
carries Man for nine months in the womb ; and the cherishing 
sex, which suckles and tends him in infancy. It is the pioys 
sex, which conducts him to the altar while he is yet a child, and 
teaches him to draw in, with the milk of the maternal breast, 
the love of a religion which the cruel policy of men would fre- 
quently render odious to him. It is the pacific sex, which sheds 
not the blood of a fellow creature ; the svinpathi zing sex, which 
ministers to the sick, and handles without hurting them. 

To no purpose does Man pretend to boast of his power and 
his strength ; if his robust hands are able to subdue iron and 
brass, those of the women, more dextrous and more usefully 
employed, can spin into threads the flax and the fleeces of the 
sheep. The one encounters gloomy care with the maxims of 
philosophy ; the other banishes it by sportiveness and gaiety. 
The one opposes to external evils the force of his reason ; the 
other far happier, eludes them by the mobility of her's. If the 
man sometimes considers it as his glory to bid defiance to dan- 
ger in the field of battle, the woman triumphs in calmly meeting 
dangers more inevitable, and frequently more cruel, on her bed 
and under the banners of pleasure. Thus they have been crea- 
ted to support together the ills of life, and to form by their union 
the most powerful of consonances and the sweetest of contrasts.* 

I am obliged by the plan of my Work to proceed, and to re- 
frain from pursuing my reflections on subjects so interesting as 
the marriage and the beauty of Man and Woman. I must how- 
ever hazard some farther observations extracted from my store, 
in order to induce others to dive into this rich mine, with the 
additional value of novelty. 

All Philosophers who have made Man their particular study 
are agreed, and with good reason, that he is the most wretched 

* This citlogiiim ontlie female is a very impressive one. It is, evidently, the 
cflusion of a feeling' heart ; the reflection of a mind practically acquainted witli 
tlve genuine features of the two sexes. The tranquillity and resignation of tlie 
■women on their deatli bed are daily attested by phya^ans. But this tranquilli- 
ty, this resignation, arc seldom spoken of, while \v?catch with eag-er solici- 
tude, tlie dying words of the prouder man, or hardier "pliilosopher, who with 
difiicuUy Iclls us, what hi? feafires loo frequently couti-adict, " that it is e<i£v 
" to die."— 13. S. B. 



12 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

of all animals. Most of them appear to have been sensible thaf 
an associate was necessary to him to relieve his burthens, and 
they have made his happiness in part to consist of friendship. 
This is an evident demonstration of human weakness and mise- 
ry ; for were man naturally strong he would stand in no need of 
either associate or assistance. Elephants and lions live solitar}' 
in the forests. They need no friends, because Nature has made 
them strong. 

It is very remarkable that when the Ancients give us a repre- 
sentation of perfect friendship, it is always restricted to two, 
whatever may be the extent of human weakness ; for man is 
frequently reduced to the necessity of deriving his felicity from 
the concurring interposition of many beings similar to himself. 
Several reasons may be assigned for this restriction, the princi- 
pal of which are deducible from the nature of the human heart, 
Avhich from it's very weakness is capable of attaching itself to 
only one object at once ; and which being compounded of op- 
posite passions that maintain a perpetual counterpoise, is in some 
sense both active and passive, and stands in need of loving and 
of being beloved, of comforting and of being comforted, of ho- 
nouring and of being honoured, and so on. Accordingly all the 
friendships celebrated in the historic page existed only between 
two persons ; such as those of Castor and Pollux ; of Theseus 
and Perithous ; of Hercules and lolas ; of Orestes and Py lades ; 
of Alexander and Hephestion^ and many others. 

It is farther to be remarked that those singular friendships 
have ever been associated with virtuous and heroic actions ; 
l)ut whenever the union comprehended more persons than two, 
}t was speedily dissolved bv discord, or if permitted to subsist 
for any length of time, became famous only for the mischief 
which it brought on Mankind: such was that of the triumvirate 
-among the Romans. In cases when the associates in such alli- 
ances were still more numerous, the mischief which they did 
vras always in proportion to the greatness of the number of 
M'hich they consisted. Thus the tjTanny of the Decemviri at 
Rome exhibited a violence still more crviel than that of the Tri- 
umviri, for it spread destruction, we may venture to sav, with- 
out passion and in cold blood. 

There are likewise triummillvirates and decemmillvirates : 
these are your various descriptions of Corps. With good rea- 



STUDY X. 13 

son have they obtained the appellation of Corps; for they fre- 
quently have a center distinct from their ^Country, of which they 
ought only to be members. They have likewise views distinct 
from those of their Country, a distinct ambition and distinct in- 
terests. They are with relation to the rest of the citizens, in- 
constant, detached, destitute of an object, and frequently desti- 
tute also of the spirit of patriotism : they are that, in a word, 
which regular troops are with relation to light troops. They 
will not suffer them to appear in an avenue along wh'ch they 
themselves are advancing, and dispossess them of the posts 
which they may have occupied the whole length of their route. 
How many revolutions have been effected in Russia by the Stre- 
litzes ; in Rome by the Pretorian guards ; at Constantinople by 
the Janizaries ; and elsewhere by Corps still more political ? 
Thus, by a just re-action of Providence, the spirit of Corps has 
been as fatal to Countries as the spirit of Country has itself been 
to Mankind. 

If the heart of Man admits of but a single object, what judg- 
ment shall we form of our modern friendships, embracing as 
they do such a multiplicity ? Undoubtedly if a man has thirty 
friends, he can bestow on each of them only the thirtieth part of 
his affection, and can receive in return no greater proportion of 
theirs. He must of necessity therefore deceive them ; for no 
one is disposed to be a friend by fractions. 

But if the truth may be told, such friendships are merely con- 
federacies of ambition ; relations interested and purely political, 
employed entirely in practising mutual illusion, in the view of 
aggrandizing themselves at the expense of society ; and which 
would be productive of unspeakable mischief, were they more 
closely united among themselves, and unless they are counter- 
balanced by opposite confederacies. Almost all our general 
associations accordingly issue in intestine wars. On the other 
hand, I do not speak of the inconveniencies which result from 
jjarticular unions rather too intimate. The most celebrated 
friendships of Antiquity have not been in this respect whoUy 
cxempt from suspicion, though I am persuaded they were as 
virtuous as the persons who were the objects of them. 

The Author of Nature has given to each of us in our own 
species a natural friend, completely adapted to all the demands 
of human life, capable of supplying all the affections of theheiut, 



14 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

and all the restlessness of temperament. He says from the be- 
ginning of the World : " It is not good that the man should be 
-' alone : I will make him an help meet for him ; — and the Lord 
" God made Woman, and brought her unto the Man."* Wo- 
man pleases all our senses by her form and by her graces. She 
has in her character every thing that can interest the heart of 
Man, and at every stage of human life. She merits by the long 
and painful solicitudes which she exercises over our infancy, our 
respect as a mother, and our gratitude as a nurse ; afterward as 
Man advances to youth, she attracts all his love as a mistress ; 
and in the maturity of manhood, all his tenderness as a wife, 
his confidence as a faithful steward, his protection as being fee- 
ble ; and even in old age she merits our highest consideration 
as the source of posterity, and our intimacy as a friend who has 
been the companion of our good and bad fortune through life. 
Her gaiety, nay her very caprices, balance, at all seasons, the 
gravity and the over-reflective constancy of Man, and acquire 
reciprocally a preponderancy over him. 

Thus the defects of the one sex and the excess of the other 
are in exact mutual compensation. They are formed, if I may 
use the expression, to be grooved into each other, like the cor- 
responding pieces of carpenters-work, the prominent and re- 
treating parts of which constitute a vessel fit to launch on the 
stormy ocean of life, and to attain additional strength from the 
very buffetings of the tempest. Had we not been informed by 
a sacred tradition, that Woman was extracted from the side of 
Man ; and though this great truth were not every day mani- 
fested in the wonderful birth of the children of the two sexes in 
equal numbers, we should be speedily instructed in it by our 
wants. Man without the Woman and Woman without the 
Man, are imperfect beings, in the order of Nature. But the 
greater contrast there is in their characters, the more complete 
union there is in their harmonies. It is, as we have already 
briefly hinted, from their oppositions in talents, in tastes, in for- 
tunes, that the most intense and the most durable affection is 
produced. Marriage is therefore the friendship of Nature, and 
the only real union which is not exposed, like those which exist 
among men, to estrangement, to rivalship, to jealousies, and to 
the changes which time is effecting in our inclinations. 

* Genesis, chap.ii. ver. 18.. "^i? 



STUDY X. 15 

But wherefore are there so few happy marriages among us ? 
I answer, because with us the sexes have divested themselves 
each of it's proper nature, and assumed the other. It is because 
the women with us adopt the manners of men from education ; 
and men the manners of women from habit. The women have 
been despoiled of the graces and of the talents peculiar to their 
sex, by the masters, the sciences, the customs, the occupations 
of men. There is no way left save one, but that is infallible, to 
bring both back to Nature ; it is to inspire them with a taste 
for Religion. By Religion, I do not mean attachment to cere- 
monies, or systems of Theology ; but the religion of the heart, 
pure, simple, unostentatious ; such as it is so beautifully de- 
picted in the Gospel. 

Religion will restore to the two sexes not only their moral 
character, but their physical beauty. It is not climate, it is not 
aliment, it is not bodily exercise, nor all these together which 
form human beauty ; it is the moral sentiment of virtue, which 
cannot subsist independently of Religion. Aliment and exer- 
cise no doubt contribute greatly to the magnitude and the ex- 
pansion of the body ; but they have no manner of influence on 
the beauty of the face, which is the true physiognomy of the ' 
soul. It is by no means uncommon to see persons tall and ro^ 
bust disgustingly ugly ; with the stature of a giant and the face- 
of a monkey. 

Beauty of face is to such a degree the expression of the har- 
monies of the soul, that in every country those classes of citi- 
zens who are, from their condition, obliged to live with others in 
a state of constraint, are sensibly the homeliest of the society. 
The truth of this observation may be ascertained, particularK 
among the noblesse of many of our provinces, who live with 
each other in the perpetual jealousy of rank, and with their neigh- 
bours of an inferior order in a state of unremitting hostility, for 
thc maintenance of theii* prerogatives. Most of those Nobles 
present a complexion billious and parched. They are meagre, 
sulky, and perceptibly uglier than the other inhabitants of thcv 
same district, though they breathe the same air, live on the same 
aliments, and in general enjoy a superior degree of fortune. 
Accordingly, they are far from being gentlemen both in name 
and in fact. Nay, there is a Nation bordering upon ours, the 
subjects of which aye as much celebrated all over Europe foi 



16 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

their pride as for their homeliness. All those men are ren- 
dered hard-favoured from the same causes that most of our 
children degenerate in look ; who, however amiable in early 
life, become ugly on going to college, from the miseries and 
irksomeness of these institutions. I say nothing of their natu- 
ral character, which undergoes the same revolution with their 
physiognomy ; this last being always a consequence of the other. 

The same thing does not hold good respecting the noblesse of 
some other of our provincial districts, and the nobility of other 
parts of Europe. These living as they do, in good understand- 
ing among themselves, and with their compatriots, are in general 
tlie handsomest men of their Nation, because their social and 
benevolent spirit is not in a state of incessant constraint and 
anxiety. 

To the same moral causes may be referred the beauty of the 
features of the Greek and Roman physiognomies, where we ge- 
nerally meet with models so exquisite in their statues and me- 
dallions. They Avere beautiful, because they were happy ; they 
lived in cordial union with their equals, and in the enjoyment 
cf popular favour with the citizens at large. Besides, there 
were among them no melancholy, moping, monkish institutions, 
•Similar to those of our colleges, contrived to disfigure the whole 
\ outh of a Nation at once. The descendants of those same 
Nations are at this day far from exhibiting a resemblance to 
their ancestors, though the climate of their country is not in the 
smtdlest degree changed. 

It is farther to moral causes that we must refer the singularly 
dignified physiognomies of the great Lords of the Court of Louis 
XIV. as is visible in their portraits. In general, persons of 
quality being by their rank elevated above the rest of the Na- 
tion, do not live continually at daggers drawing with each other, 
and with the other subjects of the State, as is the case of most 
of our small country-gentlemen. Besides they are usuallv 
educated under the paternal roof, that is, under the blessed 
influence of domestic enjoyment, and far remote from jea- 
lou«y and strife. But those of the age of Louis XIV. 
had this distinguished advantage over their posterity, that 
they were taught to value themselves on beneficence, and 
popular affability, and on bestowing their patronage upon 
talents and virtue wherever they found them. There is not, 



STUDY X. 17 

perhaps, a great family of that period, but \viiat has the honour 
to boast of having brought forward and raised into distinction, 
some one man of obscure birth, or of the inferior Nobility, v/ho 
afterwards rendered himself illustrious, by means of such 6rvp- 
port, in arts, in literature, in the church, or in the army. 

These grandees acted thus, in imitation of the Sovereign, or 
perhaps from a remainder of the spirit of the magnificence of the 
feudal government, which then exi^ircd. Be this as it may, 
they were handsome, because they were contented and happy , 
and this noble emotion of soul toward beneficence, has impres- 
sed on their physiognomy a majestic character, which will ever 
distinguish them from the men of preceding ages, and still more 
from that which has succeeded. 

Observations of this kind are not an oliject of curiosity 
merely : they are of much more importance than is generally 
apprehended ; for it follows as a necessary consequence, that in 
order to form in a Nation beautiful children, and of course 
handsome men, in both the physical and moral sense of the 
word, it is not necessary, according to the doctrine of -certain 
medical men, to subject the human species to regular purgation, 
and under particular asi>ects of the Moon. Children restricted 
to a rigid regimen of this sort, as arc most of those of our Phy- 
sicians and Apothecaries, all present wan pasteboard figures ; 
and when grown up, pale complexions and bilious temperaments 
L'ke their fathers. 

In order to render children beautiful, you must render them 
ph)-sically, but above all morally happy. You must prevent every 
possible occasion ;of vexation to them, not by kindling in their 
breasts dangerous and headstrong passions, as in the case of 
spoiled children, but on the contrary by teaching them to curb 
such as they have from Nature, and which society is ever ex- 
citing into a state of fermentation ; and especially by guarding 
against the communication of every thjng unnatural, such as 
useless and irksome tasks, emulations, rivalship, and the like. 
But we shall resume this important subject at greater length 
hereafter. 

The ugliness of a child is to be imputed, in almost every 
case, to his nurse or to his preceptor. I have sometimes observ- 
ed, among so many classes of society more or less disfigured bv 
our institutions, some families singularlv beautiful. On en- 

Voi. II. C 



IS STUDIES OF NATURE. 

quiring into the cause of this, I have found that those families, 
though of the commonalty, were happier in a moral respect thau 
those of other citizens ; that the mothers had suckled their own 
children ; that the young people had learned their occupations 
Tinder the paternal roof and inspection; that they have been 
treated with much tenderness and indulgence ; that their parents 
were fondly attached to each other ; that they all lived toge- 
ther, notwithstanding the hardships of their Ioav condition, in a 
state of liberty and cordiality, which rendered them good, hap- 
py, and satisfied.* 

I have thence deduced this other consequence : That we fre- 
quently make a false estimate of the happiness of human life, 
On seeing here a Gardener with the port of a Roman Emperor j 
and there a great Lord with the mask of a slave, I imagined at 
first that Nature had committed a mistake. But experience 
demonstrates, that the great Lord in question is, from the hour 
of his birth to that of his death, placed in a series of positions, 
which permit him not to gratify his own inclination three times 
a year. For he is mider the necessity, from his infancy up- 
ward, to do the will, first of his preceptors and masters ; in 
more advanced life, that of his prince, of ministers of state, of 
his rivals, nay frequently that of his enemies. Thus he finds 
fetters innumerable in his very dignities. Our Gardener, on 
the other hand, passes his whole life without being exposed to 
the slightest contradiction. Like the Centurion in the Gospel , 
he says to his servant, Come, and he cometh ; and to another, 
Do, this, and he doeth it. This demonstrates that Providence 
has assigned to our very passions a part widely different from 
that which society presents to them, for in cases innumerable 
the most unrelenting slavery is imposed, together with an accu- 

* Mr. C. Quillet has published a u ork entitled La Calliptdie, or the Art of 
ibrming beautiful children. I have not .seen this work, and am not, there, 
fore, prepared to say, how far the sentiments of the author are in harmony 
with those of Saint Pierre. The following is a part of the dedication of this 
work to the Society of medicine, &c., at Brussels, by Mr. Cailleau, the trans, 
iator of Quillet's book. " The author (he says) in an admirable work, and- 
with a title apparently frivolous, which, however, fulfils all,its promises, has 
sung in the language of the gods, and ahvays in the presence of the august 
Minerva, after the example of Homer, and tlie vetran of Ascra, the most ami- 
able and useful of sciences, the art of rendering the human sp<;cies perfect 
and of liniting a beautiful soul with a beautiful body."— £. S. p. 



STUDY X. 19 

tnulation of honours ; and in the meanest of human conditions 
we freqiiently find the possession of the most unbounded empire^ 

Besides, persons who have been disfigured by the corruptive 
impression of vicious education and habits have it in their pow- 
er to reform their looks : and I say this principally for the sake 
of our females, who, in order to gain this point, apply white and 
red, and patch up faces, like those of dolls, utterly destitute of 
character. After all they are in the right ; for it is much better 
to conceal character altogether, than to exhibit that of the cruel 
passions which are often preying upon them ; especially to the 
eyes of so many of the other sex, who study character merely 
to take the advantage of it. There are infallible means in their 
power of acquiring a beauty altogether irresistible. It is to be 
internally good, gentle, compassionate, sensible, beneficent, and 
devout. These affections of a virtuous soul will impress on 
their features, characters altogether celestial, which will appear 
beautiful even to the farthest extremity of old age. 

Nay, I will venture so far as to affirm, that the harsher the 
traits may be in homely persons who have suffered degradation 
from a faulty education, the more sublime and impressive will 
be the contrasts produced in them by those which they acquire 
from habits of virtue ; for when we find goodness under an un- 
promising exterior, we are as agreeably surprized as at finding 
violets and primroses under a shrubbery of briars and thorns. 
Such was the sensation inspired on a first introduction to the 
crabbed-looking M. d^ Turenne ; and such in our days is that 
which we feel at the first aspect of a certain northern Prince, as 
justly celebrated for his goodness, as the King his brother has 
rendered himself by his victories. I have no doubt that the 
repelling outside of these two great men may have greatly con- 
tributed to give a peculiar prominency to the excellence of their 
heart. Such too was the beauty of Socrates^ who, With the fea- 
tures of a profligate, delighted every eye while he discoursed of 
virtue. 

But to no purpose will a man attempt to decorate his counte- 
nance with the indications of good qualities to which his heart 
is a stranger. This false beauty produces an effect still more 
disgusting than the most decided ugliness ; for when, attracted 
by an apparent goodness, we actually find dishonesty and perfidy 
wc are fici^cd with hoiTor, as when we find a serpent lurking in 



20 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

a bed of flowers. Such is the detestable character generally as- 
cribed to courtiers. 

Moral beauty then is that after which we are bound to aspire, 
that it's divine irradiations may be diffused over our features 
and over our actions. To no purpose will a Prince himself 
make his boast of high birth, riches, credit, wit ; the People m 
order to know him must look him in the face. The People 
fonn their judgment of him entirely from the physiognomy: It 
is in every country the first, and frequently the last letter of re- 
commendation.^ 

OF CONCERTS. 

Concert is an order formed of several harmonies of various 
kinds. It differs from simple order in this, that the last is fre- 
quently nothing but a series of harmonies of the same species. 

Every particular Work of Nature presents, in different kinds, 
harmonies, consonances, contrasts ; and forms a real concert. 
This we shall more amply unfold in the Study which treats of 
plants. It may henceforward be considered as a well-founded 
remark on the subject of those harmonies^ and of those contrasts, 
that vegetables whose flowers have the least lustre are frequent- 
ed by animals of the most brilliant colours ; and on the contrary, 
that the vegetables which are most highly coloured serve as an 
asylum to the duskiest animals. This is particularly evident in 
countries situated between the Tropics ; where the trees and 
herbage, which have few if any apparent flowers, lodge and 
support birds, insects, nay monkies of the most lively colours^ 
It is in the plains of India that the peacock displays his gaudy 
plumage,, ovt a shrubbery despoiled of verdure by the burning 
heat of the Sun.^ In the same climate it is that the parrot race, 
consisting of so many different species, enamelled with a thou • 
sand various colours, perch on the gray bough of the palm-tree, 
and that clouds of little paroquets, green as the emerald, alight 
on fields embrowned by the lengthened heats of Summer. 

In our temperate regions, on the contrary, most of our birds 
are dull-coloured, because most of our vegetables have flowers 
and fruits with shining colours. It is very remarkable, that 
such of our birds and insects as have lively colours usually 
choose for their habitation vegetables that have no apparent 
flowers. Thus the heath-cock glisters on the gray verdure of 



STUDY X. 21 

the pine, whose apples serves him for food. The gold-finch 
builds his nest in the rough fullers-thistle. The most beautifid 
of our catei-pillars, which is marbled with scarlet, is to be found 
on a species of the tithymal that usually grows in the sands, and 
amidst the quarries of the forests of Fontainbleau. On the 
contrary, our birds of dusky hue inhabit shrubbery with gay 
coloured flowers. The black-headed bullfinch builds his nest in 
the white-thorn, and that lovely bird exhibits a farther most 
agreeable consonance and contrast with the prickly shrub where 
he resides, by his blood-stained breast and the sweetness of his 
song. The nightingale with brown plumage delights to nestle 
in the rose-bush, according to the traditions of the oriental Po- 
ets, who have founded many a charming fable on the loves of 
that melancholy bird for the rose. 

I could here exhibit a multitude of other harmonies of a si- 
inilar nature, respecting the animals both of our own and of fo- 
reign countries. I have collected these to a very considerable 
number; but I aknowledge they are too incomplete to admit of 
my forming of them the entire concert of one plant. I shall 
however treat the subject more at large under the article of ve- 
getables. It will be sufficient at present to produce a single ex- 
ample, which incontestably proves the existence of those l^irmo- 
nic Laws of Nature : it is this, that they subsist even in places 
not exposed to the view of the Sun. We always find in the celb 
of the mole fragments of the bulbous root of the colchica close 
by the nest of her young. Now let any one examine the plants 
which usually grow in our meadows, and he will find none 
which forms more harmonies and contrasts with the black colour 
of the mole, than the white, impurpled, and lilach flowers of the 
colchica. This plant likewise furnishes powerful means of de- 
fence to the feeble mole against her natural enemy the dog, who 
is continually hunting after her in the meadows ; for he is poi- 
soned if he eats it. For this reason the colchica has obtained 
the trivial name of dog-bane. The mole then finds a supply of 
food for her necessities, and a protection against her eneinies, in 
the colchica, as the bullfinch does in the v/hite-thorn. Such 
harmonies are not only very agreeable objects of speculation, 
but may be turned to very good practical account; for from 
what has just been suggested it will follow, that if you wish to 
allure the bullfinch to your shrubbery, you have only to plant 



22 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

the white -thorn ; and if you would clear your grounds of thfi 
mole, exterminate the bulbs of the colchica. 

If to each plant are added it's elementary harmonies, such as 
those of the season when it appears ; of the soil and situation in 
which it vegetates ; the effects of the dews, and of the reflexes 
of the light on it's foliage ; the movements which it undergoes 
from the action of the winds ; it's contrasts and consonances 
with other plants, and with the quadrupeds, the birds, and the 
insects, which are pecuHar to it ; and you will perceive a de- 
lightful concert formed all around, the harmonies of which are 
still unknown to us. It is only however by pursuing this track, 
that we shall be enabled to obtain a glimpse of the immense and 
magnificent edifice of Nature. I would earnestly intreat Na- 
turalists, persons fond of gardening. Painters, nay Poets like- 
wise, thus to prosecute their studies, and to take frequent 
draughts from this perennial spring of taste and of delight. They 
will behold new worlds arising into view, and without remov- 
ing from their own Horizon, they will make discoveries infi- 
nitely more curious than those which are contained in our books 
and cabinets, where the productions of the Universe are fritter- 
ed awav and disjoined in the petty drawers of our mechanical 
systems. 

I know not at present what name I ought to give to the con- 
formities which those particular concerts have with Man. Cer- 
tain it undoubtedly is, that there is no Work of Nature but what 
strengthens it's particular concert, or if you will it's natural cha- 
racter, by the habitation of Man ; and which does not commu- 
nicate in it's turn to the habitation of Man, some expression of 
grandeur, of gaiety, of terror, or of majesty. There is no ver- 
dant mead but what is rendered more cheerful by a dance of 
shepherdesses and their swains ; and no tempest but what ac- 
quires additional horror from the shipwreck of a vessel. Nature 
raises the physical character of her Works to a sublime moral 
character, by collecting them around mankind. This is not the 
place to descant at large on the new order of sentiments hereby 
suggested. I satisfj' myself at present with observing. That she 
not only employs particular concerts to expi'ess in detail the cha- 
racters of her Works, but when she means to express these same 
characters on the gi-eat scale, she combines a multitude of har- 
monies and of cdhtrasts of the same kind, in order to form of 



STUDY X. 23 

them one great general concert, which has only a single expres- 
sion, let the field of representation be ever so extensive. 

Thus, for example, in order to express the maleficent charac- 
ter of a venomous plant, she combines in it clashing oppositions 
of the forms and colours which are the indications of that male- 
ficence ; such as retreating and brisdy forms, livid colours, dark 
greens, with white and black spots, virulent smells.. ..But when 
she means to characterize a whole district that is unwholesome, 
she collects a multitude of similar dissonances. The air is loaded 
with thick fogs, the turbid waters exhale only nauseous smells, no 
vegetable thrives on the putrid soil but such as are disgusting, 
the dracunculus, for instance, the flower of which exhibits the 
form, the colour, and the smell of an ulcer. If any tree arises 
in the cloudy atmosphere, it is the yew only, whose red and 
smoky trunk has the appearance of having passed through the 
fire, and whose gloomy foliage serves as an asylum only to owls. 
Jf any other animal is to be found seeking a retreat under it's 
lurid shade, it is the blood-coloured cantipede, or the toad crawl- 
ing along the humid and rotten ground. By these, or similai 
signs. Nature scares Man away from noxious situations. 

If she intends to give him at sea the signal of an impending 
tempest; as she has opposed in ferocious animals the fiery glafe 
of the eyes to the thickness of the eye-brows ; the stripes and 
spots with which they are marked to the yellow colour of their 
skin, and the stillness of their movements to the thundering noise 
of their voices ; she collects in like manner in the sky, and on the 
deep, a multitude of clashing oppositions, which in concert an- 
nounce approaching devastation. Dark clouds sweep thi-ough the 
air in the horrible forms of dragons. Here and there the pale 
fire of lightning bursts from the gloom j the noise of the thun- 
der, with which their dark womb is impregnated, resounds like 
die roaring of the celestial lion. The Orb of Day, who can 
scarcely render himself visible through their rainy and multipli- 
ed veils, emits long radiations of wan and sickly light. The lead- 
en surface of the Ocean sinks and swells into broad white foam- 
ing surges. A hollow murmuring noise seems to issue from 
those threatening billows. The black shallows whiten at a dis- 
tance with horrid sounds, from time to time interrupted by 
ominous silence. The Sea, which alternately covers and re- 
veals them, displays to the light of day their cavernous foundar 



24 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

tions. The Norwegian lorn perches on one of their craggy 
points, uttering lamentable cries, like those of a drowning man. 
The sea-ospray rises aloft in the air, and not daring to commit 
herself to the impetuosity of the winds, struggles with a plain- 
tive screaming voice against the tempest, which bends back her 
stubborn wings. The black procellaria flutters about, grazing 
the foam of the waves, and seeks in the cavity of their moving 
valleys a shelter from the fury of the winds. If this small and 
feeble bird happens to perceive a ship in the midst of the Sea, 
he flees for refuge along her side, and as a reward for the pro- 
tection which he solicits, announces the tempest to the mariner 
before it overtakes him. 

Nature uniformly proportions the signs of destruction to the 
magnitude of the danger. Thus, for example, the signs of 
tempest off the Cape of Good-Hope far exceed those on our 
coasts. The celebrated Fernet, who has exhibited so many ter- 
rifying i-epresentations of the Sea, is far fi'om having depicted 
all the horrors of the watery element. Every storm has it's pe- 
culiar character, and in ever}^ particular latitude. Far different 
are the storms off" the Cape of Good-Hope from those off" Cape 
Horn ; those of the Baltic from those of the Mediterranean ; 
those on the banks of Newfoundland from those on the coast of 
Africa. They farther differ according to the season of the year, 
and even according to the hour of the day. Those of Summer 
are very unlike those of Winter ; and widely diff"erent is the 
spectacle of an enraged sea, shining at noon-day under the rays 
of the Sun, and tliat of the same sea illuminated at the midnight 
hour by a single flash of lightning. But you perceive in all the 
clashing oppositions of which I have made mention. 

I have remarked one thing in the tempests off" the Cape of 
Good-Hope, which strikingly supports all that I Ixave hitherto 
advanced respecting the principles of discord and harmony ; 
and which may perhaps suggest profound and useful reflection 
to some one of greater ability than I can pretend to. It is this. 
That Nature frequently accompanies the signs of the disorder 
Avhich agitates the Ocean with agreeable expressions of harmo- 
ny, that serve only to redouble the horrors of the scene. 

Thus, for example, in two diff"erent storms to which I was 
exposed in those seas, I did not see the face of Heaven obscur- 
ed by dark .clouds, nor these clouds furrowed by alternate flashes 



STUDY X. 25 

i-{ lightning, nor a Sea muddy and lead-coloured, as in the tem- 
pests of our climates. The sky, on the contrary, presented a 
fine blue, and the sea a beautiful azure ; there were no other 
clouds hovering in the air but small aggregations of a ruddy 
vapour, dark toward the centre, and ilkiminated about the ex- 
tremities with the yellow lustre of burnished brass. They took 
their departure from a single point in the Horizon, and travel- 
led across the Heavens with the rapidity of a bird flying. When 
the thunder shivered in pieces our main-mast in the middle of 
the night, it did not roll ; and emitted only a crack resembling 
that of a cannon shot off close by us. Two other thunder-claps 
which had preceded this one, were exactly similar. This was 
in the month of June, which is mid-winter at the Cape of Good- 
Hope. 

I was caught in another storm when doubling the Cape, on 
my return in the month of January, which is mid-summer in 
that part of the world. The ground of the Heavens was blue, 
as in the first, and not above five or six clouds were perceptible 
above the Horizon ; but each of them Avhite, black, cavernous, 
and of an enormous magnitude, resembled a portion of the Alps 
suspended in the air. This last was much less violent than the 
former, with its small ruddy vapours. In both the sea M'as of 
the same beautiful azure colour with the sky ; and on the curl- 
ing crests of the vast billows, rushing like so many cascades, 
were formed bright coloured rainbows. 

These tempests, in the full blaze of light, are inexpressibly 
tremendous. The soul stands aghast at sight of the indications 
of tranquillity converted into signs of storm ; the unclouded 
azure in the Heavens, and the rainbow playing upon the waves. 
The principles of harmony appeared to be completely inverted. 
Nature seemed to have put on a character of perfidiousness, and 
to conceal fury under the mask of benevolence. 

The shallows of those I^atitudes exhibit similar contrasts. 
yohn Hugo de Linsclwten, who saw those of the Jewess at no 
great distance, in the Mosambique channel, and upon which he 
was in extreme danger of making shipwreck, informs us, that 
they have a most hideous aspect, being bktck, Avhite, and green. 
Thus Nature increases the characters of terror, by intermingling; 
v.'ith them certain agreeable expressions. 

Vol. 11. D 



26 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

There is a farther observation of essential importance to be 
made in this place ; namely, That in those awful scenes of dan- 
ger and affright, the terrible is close upon you, and the agreea- 
ble is removed to an immense distance ; tumult is in the seas, 
and serenity in the sky. A prodigious extension is thus given 
to the sentiment of disorder ; for there is no apparent boundary 
set to tempests of this sort. All depends on the first impulsion 
which we undergo. The sentiment of infinity that is within us, 
and which is ever making new efforts to propagate itself farther 
and farther, seeks to make it's escape from the physical evil 
wherewith it is surrounded ; but repelled in some sort by the 
serenity of the treacherous Horizon, falls back upon itself and 
undergoes a severer pang, under the pressure of present painful 
affections, because their source has the appearance of being in- 
variable. 

Such is the Giant of Storms, stationed by Nature at the en- 
trance of the Seas of India, and so well delineated by the pencil 
of Camoens, Nature in our climates produces quite contrary 
effects ; for during Winter she redoubles our repose within 
doors, by covering the face of Heaven with dark and rainy 
clouds. All depends, as I have just said, on the first impulsion 
which the soul receives. Lucretius is undoubtedly right in say- 
ing, that our pleasure and security on shore are greatly increased 
by the sight of a storm at sea. 

A Painter accordingly, who wished to strengthen in a picture 
the effect of a beautiful landscape, and the felicity of it's inha- 
bitants, would only have to represent in the back-ground a ves- 
sel at the mercy of the winds and of the raging deep : the hap- 
piness of the shepherds would in this case be powerfully 
heightened by contrast with the distress of the mariners. But 
if it were his intention, on the contrary, to augment the horrors 
of a tempest, it would be necessary for him to place in opposi- 
tion to the distress of the mariners, the felicity of the shepherds ; 
and, for this effect, the vessel must be introduced between the 
spectator and the landscape. The first sentiment depends on 
the first impulsion ; and the ground contrasting with the scene 
is so far from being a deviation from Nature, that the leading 
object is impressed with additional energy by being thrown back 
upon itself. Thus it is possible, with the same objects placed 
diffor'T.t.ly, to produce directly oBnositr effcctSr 



STUDY X. 27 

If Nature, by introducing certain agreeable harmonies into 
scenes of discord, redoubles their confusion, such as the green 
colour of the rocks of the Jewess, or the azure in the tempests 
off the Cape, she frequently throws in a discordance, in concerts 
the most delightful, for the purpose of heightening the pleasura- 
ble effect. Thus a noisy water-fall precipitating itself into a 
tranquil valley, or a rugged and dusky rock ascending in the 
midst of a verdant plain, enhances the beauty of a landscape. 
Thus a mole on a beautiful face gives it additional vivacity. 
Skilful Artists have sometimes happily imitated those harmonic 
contrasts. Callot^ when he intended to aggravate the horror of 
his infernal scenery, introduced amidst his demons the head of 
a fine woman on the carcase of an animal. On the contrary, 
the most renowned Grecian Painters, in order to render Veniifi 
more interesting, represented her with a slight squint in her eyes. 

Nature employs offensive contrasts only for the purpose of 
chasing Man from some perilous situation. In all the rest of 
her Works she employs only harmonic mediums. I must not 
involve myself in the examination of their different concerts ; it 
Is a subject whose riches are inexhaustible. All that could be 
expected from my scanty fund was the indication of a few of 
their principles. I shall endeavour, however, to trace a slight 
sketch of the manner in which she harmonizes the common fields 
of our harvests, these, being the production of human agricul- 
ture, seem abandoned to the monotony that characterizes most 
of the Works of Man. 

First of all, it is remarkable that we here find that charming 
shade of gi-een, produced by the alliance of the two primordial 
opposite colours, which are the yellow and the blue. This har- 
monic colour decompounds itself in it's turn by another meta- 
morphosis, towards the time of the harvest, into the three pri- 
mordial colours, namely, the yellow of the ripening corn, the 
red of the wild poppy, and the azure of the blue-bottle. These 
two plants are found intermingled with the standing com all 
over Europe, let the farmer take what pains he may in sifting 
the gi-ain and in weeding his field. They form by their harmo- 
ny a very rich purple tint, which rises admirably on the yellow 
ground of the corn-field. 

If you study these two plants separately, you will find be- 
tween them a variety of particular contrasts; for the blue- bot- 



28 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

tie has narrow and slender leaves ; but those of the poppy arc 
broad, with deep incisions. The bliie-bottle* has the corolla of 
it's flowers radiating, and of a delicate azure ; but those of the 
poppy are large, and of a deep red. The blue-bottle throws 
out divergent stalks ; but those of the poppy are straight. We 
find, besides, among the corn, the cockle or corn-rose, which 
rises to the height of the expanded car, with handsome purple 
flowers in form of a trumpet ; and the convolvulus with a flesh- 
coloured flower, crawling up along the reeds, and surrounding 
them with verdure like a thyrsus. There is a great variety oi 
other vegetables usually to be found growing among corn, and 
forming contrasts the -most agreeable, most of them exhale the 
sweetest perfumes; and when agitated by the Summer's breeze, 
you will be disposed from their undulations to imagine the 
whole a sea of verdure enamelled with flowers. Add to all 
the rest a gentle rustling of the ears against each other, most 
agreeably soothing, which by it's soft murmuring sound invites 
to sleep. 

These lovely forests of vegetable beauty are not destitute oi 
inhabitants. You see bustling about under their shade, the 
green coated scarab, streaked with gold, and the monoceros oi" 
the colour of burnt coffee. This last insect takes delight in a 
hillock of horse-dung, and is furnished with a ploughshare on 
it's head, with Avhich he removes the ground like a labourer. 
There are besides a variety of charming contrasts in the bees 
and the butterflies, which are attracted by the flowers of the 
coni-field, and in the manners of the birds which inhabit them.. 
The far-travelled sv/allow is continually skimming along their 
surface, undulating like the waters of a lake ; whereas the sta- 
tionary lark towers above them in a perpendicular direction, 
v/ithin sight of her nest. The domesticated partridge and tran- 
sitory quail, there find a situation equally favourable to both for 

* He does not mean the plant frequently called in the United States blue- 
bottle, which is a species of Hyacinth ; but the corn blue-bottle of the En- 
glish, which is the centmirea cyanns of the botanists. Saint Pierre would 
have been pleased to have known of the attachment to this plant of various 
species of American birds, whose colours are sometimes in beautiful hannony, 
and sometimes in equally beautiful contrast, with the colours of the flowers 
of the blue-bottle. I think none of our birds so frequently peixh upon the 
ctjanus, as the frig-ilia tristis, whose coloul" is neai'ly one uniform yellow ; and 
hence called the yellow bird. — B. S. B. 



STUDY X. 29 

rearing their young. The hare frequently burrows in their 
neighbourhood, and quietly nibbles the wild-thistle. 

These animals have with Man relations of utility, from their 
fruitfulness and their furs. It is remarkable that they are to be 
found over all the corn-districts of Europe, and that their spe- 
cies are varied according to all the variety of human habitation; 
for there are different species of quails, partridges, larks, swal- 
lows, and hares, adapted to the plains, to the mountains, to the 
heaths, to the meadows, to the forests, and to the rocks. 

As to the coni-plant itself, it has relations innumerable with 
the wants of Man and of his domestic animals. It is neither 
too high nor too low for his stature. It is easily handled and 
reaped. It furnishes grain to his poultry, bran to his pigs, fo- 
rage and litter to his black cattle and his horses. Every plant 
that grows in his corn-field possesses virtues particularly adapt- 
ed to the njaladies incident to the condition of the labouring- 
man. The poppy is a cure for the pleurisy ; it procures sleep ; 
it stops hemorrhages and spitting of blood. The blue-bottle is 
a diuretic ; it is vulnerary, cordial and cooling ; it is an nntidote 
to the stings of venomous insects, and a remedy for inflamation 
of the eyes. Thus the husbandman finds all needful pharmacy 
in the field which he cultivates. 

The culture of this staff of life discloses to him many other 
agreeable concerts with his fleeting existence. The direction of 
it's shadow informs him of the hour of the day ; from it's pro*: 
gressive growth he learns the rapid flight of the seasons : he 
reckons the flux of his own fugitive years by the successions of 
the guiltless harvests which he has reaped. He is haunted with 
no apprehension, like the inhabitants of great cities, of conjugal 
infidelity, or of a too numerous posterity. His labours aje al- 
ways surpassed by the benefits of Nature. When the Sun gets 
to the sign of Virgo, he summons his kindred, he invites his 
neighbours, and marches at their head by the dawning of the 
day, with sickle in hand, to the ripened field. His heart exults 
with joy as he binds up the swelling sheaves, while his children 
dance around them, crowned with garlands of blue-bottles and 
wild poppies. The harmless play recalls to his memory the 
amusements of his own early days, and of his virtuous ances- 
tors, whom he hopes at length to rejoin in a better and happier 
World. The sight of his copious harvest demonstrates to him 



30 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

that there is a GOD ; and every return of that joyous season, 
bringing to his recollection the delicious eras of his past exis- 
tence, inspires him with gratitude to the Great Being who has 
united the transient society of men by an eternal chain of 
blessings. 

Ye flowery meadows, ye majestic, murmuring forests, ye 
mossy fountains, ye desert rocks, frequented by the dove alone, 
ye enchanting solitudes, which charm by your ineffable con- 
certs ; happy is the man who shall be permitted to unveil your 
hidden beauties ! but still happier far is he who shall have in his 
power calmly to enjoy them in the inheritance of his forefathers ! 

OF SOME OTHER LAWS OF NATURE HITHERTO IMPERFECTLY 

KNOWN. 

• 

There are, besides those which have been mentioned, some 
physical Laws not hitherto profoundly investigated, though 
we have had a glimmering of them, and made them the frequent 
subject of conversation. Such is the Law of attraction. It has 
been acknowledged in the planets, and in some metals-, as in iron 
and the load-stone, in gold and mercury. I believe attraction 
to be common to all metals, and even to all fossils ; but that it 
acts in each of them in particular circumstances, which have 
not hitherto been observed and ascertained. Each of the metals, 
perhaps, may have a disposition to turn toward different parts 
of the Earth, as magnetic iron points toward the North, and 
toward places where there are mines of iron. It would proba- 
bly be necessary, in order to ascertain this by experiment, that 
each metal should be armed with it's proper attraction ; this 
takes place, as I think, when it is united to it's contrary. 

How do we know whether a needle of gold, rubbed with mer- 
cury, might not have attractive poles, as a needle of steel has when 
rubbed with the magnet ? Thus prepared, or in some other way 
adapted to it's nature, it might possibly indicate the places which 
contain mines of that rich metal. Perhaps it might determine 
the general points of direction to the East or to the West, which 
might serve as an indication of the Longitudes more steadily 
than the variations of the magnetic needle. 

If there be a point at the Pole on which the Globe seems to 
revolve, there may possibly be one under the Equator from 
which it's rotatory motion has commenced, and which may ha'Ce 



STUDY X. 3^ 

determined it's motion of rotation. It is ver)- femarkable, for 
example, that all seas are filled with univalve shell-fish, of an in- 
finity of very different species, which all have their surrounding 
spirals in an increasing progression ; and in one and the same 
direction, that is from left to right, like the motion of the Globe 
when the mouth of the shell is turned northward, with the base 
to the ground. There is only a very small number of species 
which may be considered as exceptions, and which have, for 
this very reason, been dtnominated unique (singular or extraor- 
ordinary). The spirals of these circulate from right to left. 

A direction so general and exceptions so particular in uni- 
valve shell-fish, undoubtedly have their causes in Nature, and 
their epochas in the unknown ages when their germs were cre- 
ated. It is impossible that they should proceed from the actual 
influence of the Sun, who acts on them in a thousand different 
aspects. Can they have been thus directed in a conformity to some 
general Current of the Ocean, or to some unknown attraction 
of the Earth, toward the North or the South, toward the East 
or the West ? These relations Avill appear strange, and perhaps 
frivolous to our men of Science ; but every thing in Nature is 
a series of concatenation. A slight observation here in man\ 
cases leads to important discovery. A small plate of iron turn- 
ing toward the North guides a whole Navy through the dc 
serts of the Ocean : and a reed of an unknown species, thrown oii 
the coast of the Azores, suggested to Christopher Columbus thf 
existence of a western World. 

Whatever may be in this, certain it is that there exists a grcai 
number of those particular points of attraction scattered over 
the Earth, such as the matrices which renovate the mines of 
metals by attracting to themselves the metallic parts dispersed ih 
the elements. It is by means of attractive matrices that thost 
mines are inexhaustible, as has been remarked in many places, 
among others in the Isle of Elba situated in the Mediterranean. 
This little island is entirely a mine of iron, from which had beer 
already extracted, in the time of Pliny ^ an immense quantity of 
that metal, without it's being perceptible, as he tells us, that it 
was in the smallest degree diminished. JMetals have besides 
other attractions ; and if I might presume to deliver my opinion 
by the way, I consider these themselves as the principal matrices 
of all fossil bodies, and as the ever active means employed by 



32 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

Nature for rejiairing the mountains and the rocks, which the 
action of the other elements, but especially the injudicious la- 
tours of men, have an incessant tendency to impair. 

I shall here remark on the subject of mines of gold, that they 
are placed, as well as those of all metals, not only on the most 
elevated part of Continents, but in icy mountains. 

The celebrated gold mines of Peru and of Chili are, it is well 
known, in the Cordeliers. The gold mines of Mexico are situa- 
ted in the vicinity of Mount St. Martha, which is covered with 
snow all the year round. The rivers of Europe, which wash 
down particles of gold along their shores, issue from icy moun- 
tains. The Po in Italy has it's source in those of Piedmont. 
But without quitting France, Ave reckon ten greater or smaller 
rivers which rolLalong gold-dust intermingled with their sands, 
and which have all of them their origin in mountains of ice. 
Such is the Rhine from Strasburg to Philipsburg ; the Rhone 
in the Pais de Gex ; the Doux in Franche-Comte ; which three 
all take their rise in the icy mountains of Switzerland. The 
Cese and the Gardon descend from those of the Cevennes. The 
Ariege in the Pais de Foix ; the Garonne in the vicinity of 
Thoulouse ; the Salat in the County of Conserans ; and the 
rivulets of Ferriet and Benagues all take their rise in the icy 
mountains of the Pyrennees. 

This observation may be extended, I believe, to all the gold 
mines in the World, even to those of Africa, such of whose 
rivers as wash down the greatest quantities of gold dust, the 
Senegal for instance, descend from the mountains of the Moon. 

To this it might be objected, that gold was formerly found in 
Europe in places where there were no icy mountains ; nay, that 
some has been picked up on the surface of the ground, as in 
Brasil ; and not many years ago that there was found an ingot, 
or mass of several pounds weight, on the bank of a river in the 
district of Cinaloa, in New-Mexico. But if I might venture to 
hazard a conjecture respecting the origin of this gold, scattered 
about en the surface of the earth, in the ancient Continent of 
Europe, and especially in that of the New- World, I believe it 
to have proceeded from the total effusions of the ices of the 
mountains which took place at the time of the Deluge ; and tliat 
as the spoils of the Ocean covered the western parts of Europe, 
that those of vegetable earths were spread over the eastern part 



STUDY X. 33 

of Asia, those of minerals from the mountains were forced along 
other countries, where their fragments were found in the earlier 
ages, in grains, and even in larger masses. 

This much is certain, that when Christopher Columbus dis- 
covered the Lucayo and Antilles islands, he found among those 
islanders abundance of gold of a base alloy, the produce of the 
traffic which they had carried on with the inhabitants of the 
Continent ; but they had no mines within their own territory, 
notwithstanding the prejudice then entertained, and under which 
many labour to this day, that the Sun formed this precious me- 
tal in the earth of the loiTid Zone. For my own part, I find 
as I have just observed, gold much more common in the vicini- 
ty of icy mountains, whatever their Latitude may be ; and I 
conjecture from analogy, that there must be very rich mines of 
it in the North. It is extremely probable, that the waters of 
the Deluge hurled along considerable portions of that metal to 
the northern countries. 

We read, I think, in the Book of Job the Arabian, this re- 
markable expression : " Gold cometh from the North."'* Cer- 
tain it is, that the first commerce of India with Europe was 
carried on by the North, as has been clearly demonstrated by 
the Baron de Strahlenberg'^ a Swedish exile, after the battle of 
Pultowa, in Siberia, of which he has given a very sensible and 
accurate description. He says, that it is still possible to pur- 
sue, by evident traces, the track of the ancient Indians along the 
river of Petzora, which empties itself into the White Sea. On 
it's banks in various places are found many of their tombs, which 
contain some of them manuscripts on silk stuffs, in the language 
of Thibet ; and there are perceptible on the rocks along it's 
shores, characters which they have traced upon them in a red 
which cannot be effaced. From this river they forced their way 
through the lakes, by means of leather boats, to the Baltic ; or 
coasted along the northern and western shores of Europe. 

* This is not entii-ely of a piece with our Author's usual accuracy. It is 
written indeed in tlie Book of Job, chap, xxxvii. vcr. 9, " CoWcometh out of 
" the North :" and ver. 22, " Fair weather cometh out of the Nortli :" but 
no where in Scripture, so far as I know, is this affirmed of Gold. St. Pierre 
?ieenis to have quoted from g-cneral and indistinct recollection ; happy no 
doubt to have, as lie thought, a text from the Bible to support his conjecture. 
But, notwithstanding- this defect, his reasoning is plausible and the humai) 
'fstimony which ho adduces rcspt^ctablc. — H. H. 

VoT.. 11. K 



34 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

This track was known to the Indians even from the time of 
the ancient Romans ; for Cornelius Nepos relates, that a King 
of the Suevi made a present to Metellus Oder of two Indians, 
who had been thrown by stress of weather, with their leathern 
canoe, on the coasts adjacent to the mouth of the Elbe. It is 
not easy to conceive what those Indians, the inhabitants of a 
warm countr\', were going in quest of so far to the North. What 
use could they have made in India of the furs of Siberia ? It 
would appear they went thither in search of gold, which might 
then be frequently discoverable to the North at the surface of 
the earth. 

Whatever may be in this, it is presumable that, as mines of 
gold are placed in the most elevated regions of the Continent, 
their matrices collect in the Atmosphere the volatilized parti- 
cles of gold, which ascend thither with the fossil and aquatic 
emanations, conveyed by the winds from every quarter. But 
they exercise over men attractions still much more powerful. 

It would appear as if Nature, by burying the focuses of this 
rich metal under the snows, had intended to fence it with ram- 
parts still more inaccessible than the flinty bosom of the rock, 
lest the undismayed ardor of human avarice should at length 
destroy them entirely. It has become the most powerful bond 
of Society, and the perpetual object of all the labours of a life 
so rapidly hurrying to a close, Alas ! were Nature at this day 
to inflict condign punishment on this insatiable thirst in the Na- 
tions of Europe, for a metal so useless as a real necessary of 
human life, she has only to change the territory of some one of 
them into gold. Every other nation would instantly flock thither, 
and in a little time exterminate it's wretched inhabitants. The 
Peruvians and Mexicans have had the dreadful experience of 
this. 

There are metals not so highly prized but much more user 
ful, the elementaiy attractions of which might perhaps procure 
us very important accommodations. 

The peaks of the mountains and their lengthened crests, are 
filled, as we have seen, with iron or copper, intermingled with 
a vitreous body of granite, or of natural crystal, which attracts 
the rains and the stormy clouds like so many real and electric 
needles. There is not a seaman but what has a thousand times 
seen those peaks and those crests covered with a cloudy cap. 



STUDY X. 5J 

gathered round and round, and concealing tliem entirely from 
view, without once suspecting the cause of this appearance. 
Our Philosophers, on the other hand, deducing their conclu- 
sions merely from the inspection of charts, have taken those 
rocky protuberances for the wrecks of a primitive earth, with- 
out giving themselves any trouble about their effects. 

They ought to have observed, that those metallic pyramids 
and crests, as well as most mines of iron and copper, are always 
to be found in elevated situations, and at the source of all riv- 
ers, of which they are the primitive causes by means of their 
attractions. Their general inattention to this subject is thus 
only to be accounted for ; seamen observe, and do not reason ; 
and the learned reason, but do not observe. Undoubtedly had 
the experience of the one been united to the sagacity of the 
other, prodigies of discovery might have been expected. 

I am persuaded that, in imitation of Nature, it might be pos- 
sible for us to acquire the art of forming, by means of electric 
stones, artificial fountains, which should attract the rainy clouds 
in parched and dry situations, as chains and rods of iron at- 
tract thunder-clouds. It is true that Princes must be at the 
expense of such costly and useful experiments ; but it is the 
way for them to immortalize their memory. The Fharoahs, 
who built the pyramids of Egypt, v/ould not have drawn upon 
themselves the curses of their subjects, as Pliny assures us thev 
did, for their enormous and useless labours, had they reared 
amidst the sands of Upper Egypt an electrical pyramid, whicli 
might there have formed an artificial fountain. The Arab 
who should resort thither at this day to quench his thirst, 
would still pronounce benedictions on names which, if we may 
believe the great Natural Historian, had already sunk into ob- 
livion, and ceased to be mentioned in his time. 

For my o'wn part, I think that several metals might be proper 
for producing similar effects. An officer of high rank, in the ser- 
vice of the King of Prussia, informed me that having remarked 
vapors to be attracted by lead, he had employed it's attraction 
for drying the atmosphere of a powder-magazine. This ma- 
gazine was constructed under ground in the throat of a bastion, 
but had been rendered of no use whatever from it's humiditj'. 
He ordered to line with a coat of lead the concave ceiling of 
the arch, whicli was before planked over where the gunpowder 



JG STUDIES OF NATURE; 

was deposited in barrels : the vapors of the vault collected iu 
great drops on the leaden roof, run off in streamlets along the 
sides, and left the gunpowder barrels perfectly dry. 

It is to be presumed that every metal and every fossil has it's 
peculiar repulsion as well as it's attraction ; for these two Laws 
always go hand in hand. Contraries seek out each other. 

There are farther a multitude of other harmonic Laws as 
yet undiscovered ; such are the proportions of magnitudes, and 
of the durations of existence, in beings vegetative and sensible, 
which differ exceedingly, though their nutriment and climates 
may be the same. Man, while yet a youth, sees the dog his 
companion and contemporary die of old age ; and also the sheep 
which he fondled when a lamb. Though the former lived at 
his own table, and the other on the herbage of his meadow, nei- 
ther the fidelity of the one nor the temperance of the other 
could prolong their days ; whereas animals which live only on 
carrion and garbage live for ages, as the crow. It is impos- 
sible to guide ourselves in prosecuting such researches any other 
way than by following the spirit of conformity, which is the 
basis of our own reason, as it is that of the reason of Nature. 

By consulting this we shall find, that if such and such a car- 
nivorous animal is long-lived, as the crow for instance, it is 
because his services and his experience are long necessary for 
purifying the earth, in places whose impurities are incessantly 
renewing, and which are frequently at great distances from each 
other. If, on the contrary, an innocent animal lives but a little 
while, it is because his flesh and his skin are necessary to Man> 
If the domestic dog by his death frequently diffuses sorrow- 
over the children of the family, whose intimate friend and fel- 
low-boarder he was, Nature undoubtedly intended to give them, 
in the loss of an animal so worthy of the affections and the re- 
gret of the heart of Man, the first experience of the privations 
with which human life is to be exercised. 

The duration of an animal's life is sometimes proportioned 
to the duration of the vegetable on which it feeds. A multitude 
oi" caterpillars are born and die with the leaves by which their 
transitory existence is supported. There are insects whose be- 
ing is limited to five hours : such is the ephemera. This spe- 
cies of fly, about half as large as the tip of the little finger, is 
produced from a fluviatic grub which is found particiUai-ly at 



STUDY X. j7 

the mouths of rivers close by the water's edge, in the mud, into 
which it digs in quest of subsistence. This grub lives three 
years, and at the termination of that period, about Midsum- 
mer-day, it is transformed almost instantaneously into a fly, 
which comes into the world at six o'clock in the evening and 
dies about eleven at night. No longer space of time is neces- 
sary for copulation, and for depositing the eggs on the mud 
which the water has deserted. 

It is very remarkable that this insect copulates, and lays her 
eggs precisely at the tinie of the year when the tides are at the 
lowest, when the rivers discover at the place of their discharge 
the greatest part of their channel diy. Wings are then furnish- 
ed, to enable her to go and deposit her eggs in places which the 
waters forsake, and to extend in the capacity of a fly the do- 
main of her posterity, at the time when as a worm her territory 
is most contracted. I have likewise remarked, in the micros- 
copic drawings and dissections given of this insect by the inge- 
nious Thcvenot^ in the last part of his coUectioji, tliat in her fly 
state she has neither interior nor exterior organs of nutrition. 
They would have been entirely useless to a life of such transient 
duration. 

Nature has made nothing in vain. It is not credible that she 
should have created momentary lives, and beings infinitely mi- 
nute, to fill up imaginary chains of existence. The Philosopher>; 
who ascribe to her these pretended plans of universality, which 
are destitute of every shadow of proof, and which make her de- 
scend into the infinitely small, for purposes equally frivolous, 
would represent her as acting somewhat like a mother, who 
gives as toys to amuse her children tiny coaches, and minute 
articles of household furniture of no use in the world, but which 
are imitations of domestic utensils. 

The aversions and the instincts of animals emanate from 
Laws of a superior order, which v.-e shall never be able to pe- 
netrate into in this world ; but supposing those intimate confor- 
mities to elude om* researches, they must be referred like every 
other to the general conformity of beings, and especially to that 
of Man. There is nothing so luminous in the study of Nature, 
as to refer every thing that exists to the goodness of GOD, and 
to the demands of humanity. This method of viewing objects 
not only discovers to us a multitude of unknown laws, but it sets 



S8 STUDIES OF NATURE-. 

bounds to those which we do know, and which we believe t6 
be universal. 

If Nature, for example, were governed by the Laws of at- 
traction only, according to the supposition of those who have 
made it the basis of so many systems, every thing in the world 
would be in a state of rest. Bodies tending toward one com- 
mon centre would there accumulate, and arrange themselves 
round it in the ratio of their gravity. The substances which 
compose the Globe woiUd be so much heavier as they approach- 
ed nearer to the centre, and those which are at the surface would 
all be reduced to a level. The bason of the Seas would be chok- 
ed with the wrecks of the Land ; and this magnificent architec-. 
ture, formed of harmonies so various, would soon become an 
aquatic Globe entirely. All bodies hurled downward by one 
common precipitation, would be condemned to an everlasting 
immobility. 

On the other hand, if the Law of projection, which is em- 
ployed for explaining the motions of the heavenly bodies, on the 
supposition that they have a tendency to fly off in the tangent of 
the curve which they describe ; if, I say, this Law predomina- 
ted, all bodies not actually adherent to the Earth would be hurl- 
ed from it like stones from a sling : our Globe itself, subjected 
to this Law, would fly off from the Sun never to return. It 
would sometimes traverse in it's unbounded career the spaces 
of immensity, where no star would be perceptible during the 
course of many ages ; sometimes swinging through regions 
where chance might have collected the matrices of Creation, it 
might pass along amidst the elementary parts of suns, aggrega- 
ted by the central Laws of attraction, or scattered about in 
sparks and in rays by those of projection. 

But on the supposition that these two contrary forces were 
combined happily enough in favour of the Globe, to fix it with 
it's vortex in the corner of the firmament, where these forces 
should act without destroying themselves, it would present it's 
Equator to the Sun with as much regularity as it describes it's 
annual course round him. From those two constant motions 
never could be produced that other motion so varied, by which 
it daily inclines one of it's Poles toward the Sun, till it's axis 
has formed on the plane of it's annual circle an angle of twenty- 
three degrees and an half; then that other retrogade motion, 



STUDY X. 39 

by which it presents to him with equal regularity the opposite 
Pole. Far from preseming to him alternately it's Poles, in or- 
der that his fertilizing heat may by turns melt their ices, it would 
retain them buried in eternal night and winter, with a part of 
the Temperate Zones, whereas the rest of it's circumference 
would be burnt up by the too constant fires of the Tropics. 

But if we suppose, together with those constant Laws of at- 
traction and projection, a third variable Law, which gives to 
the Earth the movement that produces the seasons, and a fourth 
which gives it the diurnal motion of rotation round itself ; and 
that no one of these Laws so opposite, should ever surpass the 
others, and at last determine it to obey but one single impul- 
sion ; it would be impossible to affirm that they had determined 
the forms and movements of the bodies which are on it's sur- 
face. First, the force of projection or centrifugal, would not 
have left upon it any one detached body. On the other hand, 
the force of attraction or gravity would not have permitted the 
mountains to rise, and still less the metals, which are the hea- 
viest part of them, to be placed at their summits, where they 
are usually found. 

If we suppose that those Laws are the ultimotinn of chance, 
and that they are so combined as to form anaong themselves 
but one single Law ; for the same reasons that they make the 
Earth move round the Sun, and the Moon round the Earth, 
they ought to act In the same manner on the particular bodies 
which are at the surface of the Globe. We ought to see the 
rocks detached, the fruits separated from the trees, the animals 
which are not provided with claws turning round it in the air, 
as we see the particles which compose Saturn'' s ring turn round 
that Planet. 

It is the gravity, they repeat, which acts only at the surface 
of the Globe, that hinders bodies to detach thetnselvcs from it. 
But if it there absorbs the other powers. Wherefore, as we have 
already asked, did it permit the mountains to rise ? How comes 
It that the centrifugal force should have been able to exalt to a 
prodigious height the long ridge of the Cordeliers, while It has 
left Immovable the volatile scurf of snow which covers them f 
For what reason. If the action of gravity Is still universal, has 
it no Influence on the soft bodies of animals, when, shut up in 
fhe womb of the mother or in the egg, they are in a state ci 



40 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

fluidity ? All the numerous progeny of the Earth, animals and 
vegetables, ought to be rounded into balls like their mother. 
'The weightiest parts of their bodies at least ought to be situ- 
ated undermost, especially in those which possess self-motion ; 
on the contrary they are frequently uppermost, and supported 
by limbs much lighter than the rest of the animal, as in the 
case of the horse and the ox. Sometimes they are between the 
head and the feet, as in the ostrich ; or at the extremity of the 
body, in the head, as in the human species. Others, such as 
the tortoise, are flattened ; others, such as reptiles, are drawn 
out of spindles ; all of them, in a word, have forms infinitely 
varied. 

Vegetables themselves, which seem entirely subjected to the 
action of the elements, have configurations diversified without 
end. But how comes it that animals have in themselves the 
principles of so many motions, so entirely different ? Wherefore 
has not gravity nailed them down to the surface of the Earth ? 
They ought to crawl along it at most. How comes it to pass 
that the Laws which regulate the course of the Stars ; those 
Laws whose influence has in modem times been made to ex- 
tend even to the operations of the human soul, should permit 
the birds to rise into the air, and fly as they please to the West, 
to the North, to the South, notwithstanding the united powers 
of the attraction, and of the projection of the Globe ? 

It is conformity, adaptation to use, which has regulated those 
Laws, and which has generalized or suspended their effects in 
subordination to the necessities of sensible beings. Though 
Nature employs an infinity of means, she permits Man to know 
only the end which she has in view. Her Works are subjected 
to rapid dissolutions ; but she always suffers him to perceive 
the immortal consistency of her plans. It is on this she wishes 
to fix his heart and mind. She aims not at rendering Men in- 
genious and proud J her object is to render him good and 
liappy. She universally mitigates the evils which are necessa- 
ry ; and universally multiplies blessings in many cases super- 
fluous. In her harmonies, formed of contraries, she has oppo- 
sed the empire of death to that of life ; but life endures for a 
whole age, and death only an instant. She allows Man long 
to enjoy the expansions of beings so delightful to behold ; but 



STUDY X. 41 

conceals from him, with a precaution truly maternal, their tran- 
sient states of dissolution. 

If an animal dies, if plants are decompounded in a morass, 
putrid emanations, and reptiles of a disgusting form, chase us 
away from them* An infinite number of secondary beings are 
created for the purpose of hastening forward the decomposi- 
tions. If cavernous mountains and rocks present appearances 
of ruin ; owls, birds of prey, the ferocious animals, which have 
made them their retreat, keep us at a distance from them. 
Nature drives far from us the spectacles and the ministers of 
destruction, and all ures us to her harmonies. She multiplies 
them in subserviency to our necessities, far beyond the Laws 
which she seems to have prescribed to herself, and beyond the 
measure which we had reason to expect. It is thus that the 
dry and barren rocks repeat by their echoes the murmuring 
sound of the waters and of the forests ; and that the plane sur- 
faces of the waters, which have neither forests nor hills, repre- 
sent their colours and forms by reflecting them. 

From a profusion of this unbounded benevolence of Nature 
it is, that the action of the Sun is multiplied wherever it was 
most necessary ; and is mitigated in all the places where it 
would have been hurtful* First, the Sun is five or six days 
longer in our northern Hemisphere, because that Hemisphere 
contains the greatest part of the Continents, and is the most in- 
habited. His disk appears in it before he rises, and after he is 
set ; which, added to it's twilights, considerably increases the 
natural length of our days. The colder that it is the farther 
does the refraction of his rays extend. This is the reason that 
it is greater in the morning than in the evening, in Winter than 
in Summer, and at the beginning of Spring than at the begin- 
ning of Autumn. 

When the Orb of the Day has left us, during the night sea- 
son, the Moon appears to reflect his light upon us, with varie- 
ties in her phases which have relations, hitherto unknown, to a 
great number of species of animals, and especially of fishes, 
which travel only in the night-time, at the epochas which she 
indicates to them. The farther that the Sun withdraws from 
one Pole, the more are his rays refracted there. But when he 
has entirely abandoned it, then it is that his light is supplied in 
a most wonderful manner. First the Moon, by a movement al- 

Voi.. II, T 



42 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

together incomprehensible, goes to replace him there, and ap- 
pears perpetually above the Horizon, without setting, as was 
observed in the year 1596, at Nova Zembla, by the unfortunate 
Dutchmen who wintered there, in the 76th degree of North 
Latitude. 

It is in those dreadful climates that Nature multiplies her 
resources, in order to bestow on sensible beings the benefits of 
light and heat. The Heavens are there illuminated with the 
aiirora-borealis^ which darts up to the very zenith rays of mov- 
ing light, gold-coloured, white, and red. The Poles sparkle with 
stars more luminous than those which appear in the rest of the 
firmament. The snows which cover the gi'ound shelter part of 
the plants, and by their lustre dispel the darkness of night. 
The trees are clothed with thick mosses, which catch fire from 
the smallest spark : the very ground is covered with them, es- 
pecially in the woods, to so great a depth, that I have oftener 
than once sunk in the Summer time up to the knees, in those of 
Russia : Finally, the animals . which inhabit those regions are 
robed in fur to the very tip of their claws. 

When the season returns for restoring heat to those climates, 
the Sun re-appears there a considerable time before his natural 
term. Thus, the Dutch mariners whom I have just mentioned, 
saw him to their astonishment above the Horizon of Nova 
Zembla, on the twenty-fourth of January, that is fifteen days 
sooner than they expected him. This return, so much earlier 
than their hopes had fashioned it, filled them with joy, and dis- 
concerted the calculations of their intelligent pilot, the unfortu- 
nate Barents. 

It is then that the Star of Day there redoubles his heat and 
his light, by means of the parhelions, which like so many mir- 
roi-s formed in the clouds reflect his disk upon the Earth. He 
calls from Africa the winds of the South, which passing over 
Zara, whose sands are then violently heated by the vicinity of 
the Sun to their zenith, load themselves with igneous particles, 
and proceed to attack like battering rams of fire, that tremen- 
dous cupola of ice v/hich covers the extremity of our Hemis- 
phere. It's enormous vaultage, dissolved by the heat of those 
winds and loosened by their violent agitations detaches itself in 
fragiTients as lofty as mountains ; and floating at the discretion 
of the Currents, which sweep them along toward the Line, thev 



STUDY X. 4:3 

tdvance sometimes as far to the 45th degree, cooling the Seas of 
the South by their vast effusions. Thus the ices of the pole 
communicate coolness to the heated seas of Africa, just as the 
burning sands of Africa transmit warm winds to dissolve the 
ices of the Pole. 

But as cold is in it's turn a very great blessing in the Torrid 
Zone, Nature employs a thousand methods to extend the influ- 
ence of it in that Zone, and to mitigate in it the heat and the 
light of the Sun. First, she destroys there the refractions of 
the Atmosphere. There is scarcely any twilight between the 
Tropics to precede the rising of the Sun, and still less after his 
setting. When he is in the Zenith he veils himself with rainy 
clouds, which cool the ground both by their shade and by their 
showers. Besides those clouds being frequently impregnated 
with thunder, the explosion of their fires dilates the superior 
stratum of the Atmosphere, which is icy at the height of two 
thousand five hundred fathom under the Line, as is evident 
from the snows which perpetually cov^er at that height the sum- 
mits of some of the Cordelier mountains. They cause to flow 
down, by their explosions and concussions, columns of that air, 
congealed in the superior regions of the Atmosphere, into the 
inferior, which are suddenly cooled by it, as we feel it to be in our 
own climates in Summer, immediately after a thunder storm. 

The effusions of the polar ices in like manner cool the seas of 
the South ; and the polar winds frequently blow on the hottest 
parts of their shores. Nature has farther placed in the very 
heart of the Torrid Zone and in it's vicinity, chains of icy moun- 
tains, which accelerate and redouble the effects of the polar 
winds, especially along the seas, where fermentation was most 
to be dreaded, from the alluvions of the bodies of animals and 
of vegetables, which the waters are there continually depositing. 
Thus the chain of Mount Taurus, eternally covered with snow, 
commences in Africa, on the burning shores of Zara, and coast- 
ing the Mediterranean, passes on into Asia, where it extends 
long arms this way and that, which embrace the gulfs of the 
Indian Ocean. In America, in the same manner, the extensive 
chains of the Cordeliers of Peru and Chili, with the elevated 
ridges in which it crosses Hrasll, cools the lengthened and 
Lurning shores of the South-Sea and of the gulf of Mexico- 



44 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

These elementary dispositions are only part of the resources 
of Nature, for mitigating the heat in warm countries. She there 
shades the ground with creeping vegetables and trees in form of 
«. parasol, some of which, such as the cocoa-tree of the Sechelles 
islands and the talipot of Ceylon, have leaves from twelve to 
fifteen feet long, and from seven to eight feet broad. She 
clothes the animals of those regions with hairless skins, and co- 
lours them in general, as well as the verdure, with dark and 
dusky tints, in order to diminish the reflexes of the heat and of 
the light. This last consideration leads me here to suggest a 
few reflections on the efiects of colours ; the little which I shall 
advance on this subject will be sufficient to produce conviction 
that their generations are not the eflFect of chance ; that it is 
from reasons profoundly wise we find one half of them proceed 
in compounding themselves toward the light ; and in their de- 
composition toward darkness ; and that all the harmonies of this 
World are produced by contraries. 

Naturalists consider colours as accidents. But if we attend 
to the general uses for which nature employs them, we shall be 
persuaded that there is not even on the rocks a single shade im- 
pressed without a meaning and a purpose. Let us observe, in 
the first place, the principal effects of the two extreme colours, 
white and black, with relation to the light. Experience demon- 
strates that of all colours, white is that which best reflects the 
rays of the Sun, because it sends them back without any tint, as 
pure as it receives them ; and that black, on the contrary, is the 
least adapted to their reflection, because it absorbs them. This 
is the reason why gardeners whiten the walls against which their 
espaliers are planted, in order to accelerate the maturity of tlieir 
fruits, by the reverberation of the Sun's rays ; and why optici- 
ans blacken the walls of the camera-obscitra, that their reflexes 
may not disturb the luminous picture on the tablet, 

Nati^re of consequence frequently employs to the North the 
white colour, in order to increase the light and heat of the Sun, 
Most of the lands there are whitish or of a clear gray. The 
rocks and sands of the northern regions are filled with mica and 
specular particles. Farther, the whiteness of the snows which 
cover them in Winter, and the vitreous and crystaline particles 
of their ices, are exceedingly adapted to mitigate the action of 
the cold, by reflecting the light and heat in the most advantage- 



STUDY X. 45 

ous manner. The trunks of the birch trees, of which the great- 
est part of their forests consist, are covered with a bark as white 
as paper. Nay, in some places, the earth is clothed with a ve- 
getation completely white. 

" In the eastern part," says an intelligent Swede, *' of the 
" lofty mountains which separate Sweden from Norway, expo- 
" sed to the utmost rigor of the cold, there is a very thick fo- 
" rest, and singular in this respect, that the pine which grows 
" there is rendered black by a species of filamentous lichen, 
" which hangs upon it in great abundance ; whereas the ground 
*' is covered every where around with a white lichen, which in 
" lustre rivals the snow."* 

Nature there bestows the same colour on most animals, such 
as the white bear, the wolf, the partridge, the hare, the ermine ; 
others perceptibly whiten to a certain degree in Winter, such as 
foxes and squirrels, which are reddish in Summer and light 
gray in Winter. Nay if we consider the filiform figure of their 
hair, it's varnish and transparency, we shall be sensible that it 
is contrived in the most proper manner for reflecting and re- 
fracting the rays of light. We ought not to imagine this white- 
ness as a degeneration or enfeebling of the animal, as Natural- 
ists have done with respect to the human hair, which whitens 
in old age, as they tell us, from a failure of radical moisture ; 
for nothing can be of a closer contexture than most of those 
furs, nor any thing more vigorous than the animals which are 
arrayed in them. The white-bear is one of the strongest and 
most formidable of animals in the world ; it frequently requires 
several musket-shot to bring him down. 

Nature, on the contrary, has tinged with red, with blue, with 
dusky and black tints, the soil, the vegetables, the animals, nay 
even the men, of the Torrid Zone, for the purpose of their ab- 
sorbing the fires of the burning Atmosphere with which they 
are surrounded. The lands and the sands of the greatest part 
of Africa, situated between the Tropics, are of reddish brown, 
and the rocks are of a black hue. The Islands of France and of 
Bourbon, which are on the border of that Zone, are in general 
of the same dark complexion. I have seen there chickens and 

* Extract from the Natural History of the rein-deer, by Charks-Frederkh 
Hofbei§; translated by M, Ic Chcvaiipv do ICcralis. 



46 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

paroquets, not only whose plumage, but the skin itself was dyed 
black. I have likewise seen in those islands fishes entirely black, 
and especially among the species which live near the surface of 
the water, over the shallows, such as the old woman and the 
thornback. 

As animals whiten in Winter toward the North in proportion 
as the Sun withdraws from them, those of the South assume 
dark and dusky tints in proportion as the Sun approaches. When 
he is in the Zenith, the sparrows of the tropical countries have 
breast plates, and the plumage of the head completely red. There 
are birds in those regions which change their culuur three times 
every year, having, if I may use the expression, one dress for 
Spring, another for Summer, and a third for Winter, according 
as the Sun is in the Line, in the Tropic of Cancer, or in that of 
Capricorn.* 

This too is very remarkable, and of consequential importance 
to the use which Nature makes of these colours to the North 
and to the South ; namely, that in all countries the whitest part 
of an animal is the belly, because more heat is wanted there for 
promoting digestion, and for carrying on the other animal func- 
tions : and on the contrary the head is universally most strongly 
coloured, especially in those of hot countries, because in the 
animal economy that part stands most in need of being kept cool. 

It cannot be maintained that the bellies of animals preserve 
their whiteness, because that part of the body is sheltered from 

* The wJiite colour according-ly increases the effect of tlie rays of the Sun, 
and the black weakens it. The inliabitants of Malta whiten the inside of 
their apartments, in ordei", as they allege, to render the scorpions perceptible 
which are very common in that island. In doing this, if I am not mistaken, 
they commit two eiTors ; the first, in misapprehending- the colour : for the 
scorpions which there are gray, would appear still better on a dark ground, 
the second, and one of much greater importance, is their increasing to such 
a degree the reverberation of the light, that tlie eye-sight is sensibly affected 
by it. To this cause I principally ascribe the disorder of the eye so frequently 
complained of by those islanders. Our trades-people wear white hats in 
Summer, when in the country, and complain of liead-achs. All these evils 
arise from neglecting to study Nature. In the Isle of France they employ for 
wainscotting the wood of the country, which in time becomes entirely black . 
but this tint is too gloomy. It seems as if Nature had foi-eseen in this respect 
the services which Man was to derive from tlie interior of trees ; their timber 
i:; brown in most of those liot countries, and v.'hite in those of the northern 
i-egions, sucli as the fir and the birch. 



STUDY X. 4/ 

the Sun ; and that their heads assume strong colouring from 
being more exposed to his influence. It might appear from 
reasons of analogy that the natural effect of light ought to be, to 
invest with it's lustre all the objects which it touches ; and that 
conformably to this, the soil, the vegetables and the animals of 
the Torrid Zone ought to be white ; and that darkness, on the 
contrary, acting for several months together on the Poles, ought 
to clothe eveiy object within those regions in robes of mourn- 
ing. But Nature subjects not herself to mechanical Laws. 
Whatever may be the physical effect of the presence of the Sun, 
or of his absence, she has contrived toward the North, to impose 
very black spots on the whitest bodies, and to the South, white 
spots on the darkest bodies. She has blackened the tip of the 
tail of the Siberian ermine, in order that these little animals 
which are white all over, as they march along the snow, where 
they scarcely leave any traces of their footsteps, may be enabled 
to distinguish each other when proceeding in a train, in the lu- 
minous reflexes of the long nights of the North. 

Perhaps too this blackness opposed to the white may be ont- 
of those decided characteristics with which she has marked 
beasts of prey ; such as the extremity of the black snout and the 
black paws of the white bear. The ermine is a species of wea- 
sel. There are likewise in the North foxes completely black ; 
but they are indemnified for the influence of the white colour 
by the warmest and thickest of firs ; it is the most valuable of 
all those of the North. Besides, this species of foxes is verj 
rare even in those countries. Nature has perhaps clothed them 
in black because they live in subterraneous places, in the midst 
of warm sands, or in the vicinity of certain volcanos, or for 
some other reason to me unknown, but corresponding to their 
natural calls. It is thus she has clothed in white the paillen^u, 
or bird of the Tropics, because this fowl, which flies at a prodi- 
gious elevation above the Sea, passes part ol it's life in the vici- 
nity of a frozen Atmosphere. These exceptions by no means 
destroy the general adaptation of those two colours j on the con- 
trary they confirm it, seeing it is employed by Nature for dimi- 
nishing or increasing the heat of the animal, in conformity to the 
temperature of the place where it lives. 

I now leave it to Naturalists to explain how it comes to pass 
that cold should cause to vegetate the hair of animals in the 



48 STUDIES OF NATURt. 

North ; and why the heat should shorten or cause to fall ofF 
the hair of animals to the South ; in contradiction to all the 
Laws of systematic, nay of experimental Physics ; for we are 
assured from our personal experience that Wmter retards the 
growth of the human hair and beard, and that the Summer ac- 
celerates it. 

I believe I have a glimpse of a Law very different from 
the Law of analogies, which we so commonly assign to Nature, 
because it allies itself to our weakness by affording us a pre- 
tence to explain every thing, with the assistance of a small num- 
ber of principles. This Law, infinitely varied in it's means, is 
that of compensations.^ It is a consequence from the universal 
Law, or the mutual adaptation of things, and a sequel of the 
union of contraries, whereof the harmonies of the Universe are 
composed. Thus it frequently happens that effects so far from 
being the results of causes are opposite to them. For example, 
it has pleased Nature to clothe in white several birds, the inha- 
bitants of warm regions, such as the heron of the Antilles, and 
the paroquet of the Moluccas, called cacatoes ; but she has be- 
stowed at the same time on their plumage a disposition which 
weakens the reflection of it. 

* In reflecting on these compensations, wliicli are very numerous, and 
among othei's on those of the light of the Sun, which embrowns bodies in 
order to weaken the reflexes of them, it has suggested itself to my thoughts 
that fire must in like manner produce matter the best adapted to diminish 
it's own activity. And of this I have in fact made frequent proof, by throw- 
ing a little ashes on the flame blazing on my health. By this means I have 
been able to quench it suddenly almost without smoke. I recollect to tliis 
purpose having some time ago seen in one of our sea-ports, a great caldron 
full of pitch catch lire, which they were heating for careening a ship. Inex- 
perienced persons immediately attempted to extinguish the flame by throw- 
ing water upon it ; but the boiling and inflamed matter spread only the more 
violent in torrents of fire over the brim of the caldron ; I did not think a single 
ladle-full would be left witliin the vessel, when an old seaman run up and 
Instantly brought it down by throwing upon it a few shovels-full of ashes. 
I believe therefore that by uniting this application w ith that of water, great 
assistance might be dei'ived in case of conflagrations ; for the ashes would 
not only deaden the flame, without exciting that dreadful smoke which arises 
from it as soon as the engines begin to play, but when once thoroughly mois- 
tened they would retai'd the evaporation of the water, which is almost in- 
stantaneous when the fire has made a considerable progress. It would af- 
ford me inexpressible satisfaction should this observation merit the attention 
of those who have ability to give it from their experience, sagacity and in 
fluence, all the utility of which it is susceptible 



STUDY X. 49 

Farther, it is very remarkable that she has furnished the 
heads of those birds with tufts and plumes of feathers which 
overshadow them, because, as was formerly observed, the head 
is that part of the body which in the animal economy stands 
most in need of being kept cool. Such is our crested hen, 
which comes originally from Numidia. Nay I do not believe 
that there are to be found in any but southern countries, birds 
with tufted heads. If there be some toward the North, as the 
lapwing, they make their appearance there only in Summer4 
Most of those of the North, on the contrary, have the belly and 
the feet clothed with tippets formed of down similar to the finest 
of wool. 

This likewise is farther worthy of remark, respecting the 
white birds and quadrupeds of the South, which live in a hot 
Atmosphere, namely, if I am not mistaken, that the skin of 
them all is black ; which is sufficient to counterbalance the re- 
flection of the colour of their exterior dress. Robert Knox, in 
speaking of certain white quadrupeds of the Island of Ceylon, 
says that their skin is entirely black. I myself recollect to have 
seen at Port I'Orient, a cacatoes whose stomach had been strip- 
ped of the feathers, and displayed a skin as black as that of a 
Negro. When this white bird with his black beak and black 
and naked breast, erected his plume and clapped his wings, he 
had the complete air of an Indian King with his crown and 
mantle of feathers. 

The Law of compensations employs therefore means endless* 
ly varied, which contradict most of the Laws which we have 
laid down in Physics ; but this Law must itself be subjected to 
that of general accommodation or conformity ; without which, 
were we to attempt to render it universal, it would involve us in the 
common en-or. It has given rise in Geometry to several axioms 
extremely doubtful, though of great celebrity, such as the fol- 
lowing ; the action is equal to the re-action; and this other, 
which is a consequence from it, the angle of refection is equal 
to the angle of incidence. I shall not stop to demonstrate in how 
many cases these axioms are erroneous ; how many actions in 
Nature are without re-actions ; how many angles of reflection 
are deranged by the very planes of incidence. It is sufficient 
for me at present to repeat what I have already oftener than 
ence advanced, namelv, that the weakness of the human mind. 

Vol. II. G 



50 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

and the vanity of our education, are incessantly prompting us 
to generalize. This mode of proceeding is the soui-ce of all 
our errors, and perhaps of all our vices. Nature bestows on 
cverv being that which is adapted to it in the most perfect con- 
formity, according to the Latitude for which it is destined ; 
and when the temperature of that Latitude is affected by change 
of season, she is pleased to vary likewise the adaptations. Some 
of these adaptations are accordingly immutable, and others 
variable. 

Nature frequently emplo}'s contrary means for producing the 
same effect. She makes glass with fire ; she makes it too with 
water, crvstal for instance : farther, she produces it from ani- 
mal organization, such as certain transparent shell-fish. She 
forms the diamond by a process to us utterly unknown. Con- 
clude now, because a body has been vitrified it must certainly 
be by the effect of fire, and rear on this perception the system 
of the universe ! The utmost that we are capable of doing is to 
catch some hai-monic instants in the existence of beings. That 
which is vitrifiable becomes calcareous, and what is calcareous 
changes into glass by the action of the same fire. Deduce then 
from these simple modifications of the fossil kingdom invariable 
characters for determining the general classes of it ! 

On the other hand. Nature frequently employs also the same 
means for producing effects directly contrary. For example, 
we have seen that in order to increase the heat over the lands 
of the North, and to mitigate it over those of the South, she 
made use of opposite colours ; she produces in both the same 
effects by covering the face of the one and of the other with 
rocks. These rocks are essentially necessaiy to vegetation. 1 
have frequently remarked in those of Finland stripes of verdure 
skirting their bases to the South ; and in those of the Isle of 
France I have seen such verdant stripes on the side averted 
from the Sun. 

The same obsei-vations may be made in our own climate. In 
Summer when every thing is parched, we frequently find green 
herbage under walls which have a northerly aspect ; it disap- 
pears in Winter ; but then we find it replaced in front of emi- 
nences which face southward. 

We have already remarked that the Icy Zones and the Tor- 
rid Zone contain the greatest quai^ity of waters, the evaporation- 



STUDY X. 51 

of which equally tempers the violence of the heat and of the 
cold, with this difference, that the greatest lakes are toward the 
Poles, and the greatest rivers toward the Line. There are, it 
is admitted, some lakes in the interior of Africa and America ; 
but they are placed in elevated atmospheres in the centre of 
mountains, where they are not liable to corruption from the ac- 
tion of the heat ; but the plains and low grounds are washed by 
the greatest currents of living water that arfc in the World, such 
as the Zara, the Senegal, the Nile, the Mechassippi, the Oroo- 
noko, the Amazon, and others. 

Nature proposes to herself, universally, only the accommoda- 
tion of beings possessed of sensibility. This remark is all-im- 
portant in the study of her Works ; otherwise from the simili- 
tude of the means which she employs, or the exceptions from 
them, we might be tempted to doubt of the consistency of her 
Laws, instead of ascribing the majestic obscurity which pervades 
them to the multiplicity of her resources, and to the profundity 
of our own ignorance. 

This law of adaptation and conformity has been the source of 
all our discoveries. It was this which wafted Christopher Co- 
lumbus to America ; because, as Herrera tells us,* he thought, 
contrary to the opinion of the Ancients, that the whole five Zones 
must be inhabited, as GOD had not formed the Earth to be a 
desert. It is this Law which regulates our ideas respecting the 
objects absolutely beyond the reach of our examination. By 
means of it, though we are ignorant whether there may be men 
in the Planets, we are assured there must be eyes, because there 
is light. It is this which has awakened a sense of Justice in 
the heart of every man, and which informs him that there is 
another order of things after this life is at an end. This Law 
in a word is the most irresistible proof of the existence of GOD ; 
for amidst such a multitude of adaptations, so ingenious that 
our passions themselves, restless as they are, never could have 
devised any thing similar ; and so numerous, that every day is 
presenting to us some that have all the merit of novelty, the first 
of all, which is the Deity, must undoubtedly exist, as lie is the 
general conformity of all particular conformities. 

■ U,-n-va iMx^iovv of the ^A'c.■:■l-1lKlics. Book i. rliap. 2 



Sii STUDIES OF NATURE. 

It is this above all whose existence we endeavour even in- 
voluntarily every where to trace, and to assure ourselves of it in 
every possible manner. And this explains to us the reason why 
the most splendid and comprehensive collections in Natural 
Historj^, Galleries of the choicest master-pieces in Painting, 
Gardens filled with the rarest and most curious plants, Libraries 
stored with the most valuable and best written books ; in a 
word, every thing that presents to us the most marvellous rela- 
tions of Nature, after having raised us to an ecstasy of admira- 
tion, conclude by superinducing languor and fatigue. We fre- 
quently prefer to all these a rustic mountain, a rugged rock, 
some wild solitude, which might present to us relations newer 
and still more direct. 

How often on coming out of the King's magnificent Cabinet 
of Natural History do we stop mechanically to look at a gar- 
dener digging a hole in the field with his spade, or at a carpen- 
ter hewing a piece of timber with his hatchet ? It looks as if we 
expected to see some new haimony start out of the bosom of 
the Earth, or burst from the side of a lump of oak. We set no 
value on those which we have just been enjoying, unless they 
lead us forward to others which as yet we do not know. But 
were the complete History given us of the stars of the Firma- 
ment, and of the invisible Planets which encircle them, we 
fihould perceive in them a multitude of ineffable plans of intelli- 
gence and goodness, after which the heart would continue fond- 
ly to sigh ; it's last and only end is the Divinity himself. 



STUDY XI. 

y\PPLICATION OF SOME GENERAL LAWS OF NATURE TO 
PLANTS. 

BEFORE I proceed to speak of plants I must be indulged 
in making a few reflections on the language of Botany. 

We are still so young in the study of Nature, that our lan- 
guages are deficient in terms to express her most common har- 
monies. This is so true, that however exact the description of 
plants may be, and compiled by Botanists of whatever ability, it 
is impossible to distinguish them in the fields, unless you have 
previously seen them in Nature, or at least in a herbary. Per- 
sons who think they have made the greatest proficiency in Bo- 
tany need only attempt to draw on paper a plant which they 
have never seen, after the description of the most accurate Mas- 
ter, to be convinced how widely the copy deviates from the 
original. 

Men of genius have nevertheless taken inexpressible pains to 
assign characteristic names to the different parts of plants. They 
have even borrowed most of those names from the Greek, a 
language of singular energ}' of expression. From this has re- 
sulted another inconveniency ; it is, that those names being for 
the most part compounds, cannot be rendered into modern lan- 
guage ; and for this reason it is that a great part of the Works 
of Limimis are absolutely incapable of translation.* These 
learned and mysterious expressions no doubt diffuse a venerable 
air over the study of Botany ; but Nature has no need of such 
resources of human art to attract our respect. The sublimity 
of her Laws can easily dispense with the emphasis and obscurity 
of our expressions. The more light a man carries in his own 
bosom the more wonderful he esteems it to be. 

» This observation is by no means correct. All the writings of Linnxus arc 
capable of translation : and, in truth, some of the most technical of them have 
been ably rendered into difterent languages, particularly into the English. I do 
not think there is one word in the works of the illustrious Swede which is not 
susceptible of being rendered, and rendered fully and emphatically into Eng- 
lish —B. ,S. B. 



54 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

After all, most of those foreign names employed particularly 
by the herd of Botanists, do not so much as express the most 
common characters of vegetables. They frequendy make use 
for example, of such vague expressions as these, suave rubente^ 
suave olente^ of an agreeable red, sAveet smelling, in order to 
characterize flowers ; without expressing the shade of red or 
the species of perfume. They are still more embarrassed when 
they wish to convey the dusky colours of the stem, of the root, 
or of the fruit : atro-rubente^ say they fusco-nigrescente^ of a 
dark red, of a dusky brown. As to the forms of vegetables, the 
case is still worse, though they have fabricated terms compound' 
ed of four or five Greek words to describe them. 

J. y, Rousseau communicated to me one day a set of charac- 
ters somewhat resembling the algebraic, which he had invented 
for the purpose of briefly expressing the colours and forms of 
vegetables. Some of them represented the forms of the flowers ; 
others those of the leaves, others those of the fruits. Some re- 
sembled a heart, some were triangular, some of the lozenge 
shape. He did not employ above nine or ten of those signs to 
compose the expression of one plant. Some he placed above 
others, with cyphers which indicated the genera and the species 
of the plant, so that you would have taken them for the terms 
of an algebraic formula. However ingenious and expeditious 
this method might be, he informed me that he had given it up 
because it presented to him skeletons only. 

This sentiment came with peculiar grace from a man whose 
taste was equal to his genius, and may suggest some reflections 
to those who are for giving abridgments of every thing, especi- 
ally of the V/orks of Nature. The idea of John James^ how- 
ever, well deserves to be followed up, should it only serve to 
produce one day an alphabet proper to express the language of 
Nature. All that seems requisite is the introduction of accents 
to convey the shades of colours, and all the modifications of sa- 
vours, perfumes, and forms. Even then those characters could 
not be delineated with perfect precision, unless the qualities of 
of each vegetable were first exactly determined by words : other- 
wise the language of Botanists, which is now accused of speak- 
ing only to the ear, would make itself intelligible only to the eye. 
This is what I have to propose respecting an object so highly 
interesting, and which will perfectly coalesce with the general 



STUDY X. 55 

principles which we shall afterwards lay down. Tlie litde 
which I may advance upon the subject will serve to supply ex- 
pression, not only in Botany, and in the study of the other natu- 
ral Sciences, but in all the Arts, where we find ourselves puz- 
zled every instant for want of terms to convey the shades and 
forms of objects. 

Though we have only the term white whereby to express the 
colour which bears that name, Nature presents to us a great 
variety of sorts of it. Painting with respect to this article is as 
barren as language. 

I have been told of a famous painter of Italy, who upon a 
certain occasion found himself very much embarrassed how to 
represent in one of his pieces three figures dressed in white. 
The point in question was to give effect to those figures, to be 
thus uniformly dressed, and to draw out different shades of the 
most simple nnd the least compounded of all colours. He was 
going to abandon his object as a thing impossible, vhen hap- 
pening to pass through a corn-market he perceived the effect 
which he was in quest of. It was a group formed by three mil- 
lers, one of whom was under a tree, the second in the half tint 
of the shade of that tree, and the third exposed to the rays of 
the Sun : so that though the drapery of all the three was white, 
they were completely detached from each other. He introduced 
a tree therefore amidst the three personages of his picture, and 
by illuminating one of them with the rays of the Sun, and throw- 
ing over the other two different tints of shade, he was enabled 
to exhibit a drapery of three several casts of white. 

This however was rather to elude the difficulty than to re- 
solve it. And this is in fact what Painters do in similar cases. 
They diversify their whites by shades, half-tints, and reflexes ; 
but these whites are not pure; they are always disturbed with 
yellow, blue, green, or gray. Nature employs several species 
of white without diminishing the purity of it, by dotting, rump- 
ling, radiating, varnishing it, and in various other ways Thus 

the whites of the lily, of the daisy, of the lily-of-the-valley, of 
the narcissus, of the anemone -nemorosn, of the hyacinth, are all 
different from each other. The white of the daisy has some- 
thing of that of a shepherdesses' cornet ; that of the hyacinth has 
a resemblance of ivory ; and that of the lily, half transparent and 
crystalline, resembles the paste of porcelain. I believe, there- 



56 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

fore, that all the whites produced by Nature or by Art, might 
be referred to those of the petals of our flowers. We should 
thus have in vegetables a scale of shades of the purest white. 

We might in like manner procure all the pure and imaginable 
shades of yellow, of red, and of blue, from the flowers of the 
j onquil, of the saffron, of the butter-flower of the meadow, of 
the rose, of the poppy, of the blue -bottle of the corn-field, of the 
larkspur, and so on. We might find, in the same manner, 
among our common flowers, all the compound shades, such as 
those of the impurpled violet and foxglove, which are formed of 
the various harmonies of red and blue. The single compound 
colour, made up of blue and yellow, which constitutes the green 
of our herbage, is so varied in every plain, that each plant, I 
may venture to affirm, has it's peculiar shade of that colour. I 
can have no doubt that Nature has displayed in equal variety 
the other colours of her palette, in the bosom of flowers, or on 
the surface of fruits. 

In performing this she sometimes employs very different tints 
without confounding them; but she lays them on one above 
another, so that they form the dove's neck : such is the beauti- 
ful shag which garnishes the corola of the anemone ; in other 
cases she glazes their surface, as certain mosses with a green 
ground, which are glazed over with purple ; she velvets others^ 
such as the pansy ; she powders over some fruits with a delicate- 
ly fine flour, such as the purple plumb, distinguished by the ad- 
dition of de Monsieur ; or invests them with a light brown to 
soften their vermillion, as the peach ; or smooths their skin, and 
gives the brightest lustre to their colours, as to the red of the 
apple of Calleville. 

What embarrasses Naturalists the most in denominating co- 
lours, is to find distinctive epithets for such as are dusky ; or 
rather, this gives them no manner of concern : for they evade 
the difficulty by the vague and indecisive expressions, of black- 
ish, gray, ash-coloured, brown, which they convey, it is true, in 
Greek and Latin words. But those words frequently answer 
no purpose, except to confound their images, by giving no re- 
presentation whatever ; for what in good earnest is meant bv 
these, and suchlike epithets, atro-purpurante^fusco-mgrescente^ 
which they employ so frequently. 



STUDY XI. 57 

It is possible to make thousands of tints widely different from 
each other, to which such general expressions might be applied. 
As those dark shades in truth are much compounded it is ex- 
ceedingly difficult to characterize them by the phraseology of 
our common vocabularies. But this might be easily and ef- 
fectually accomplished, by referring them to the different co- 
lours of our domestic vegetables. I have remarked in the 
barks of our trees and shrubbery, in the capsules and shells of 
their fruits, as well as in the dead leaves, an incredible variety 
of those sad and gloomy shades, from yellow down to black, 
with all the intermixtures and accidents of the other colours. 
Thus instead of saying in Latin a yellow inclining to black, or 
an ash-coloured tint, in order to determine some particular shade 
of colour in a production of Art or of Nature, we might say a 
yellow of the colour of a dried walnut, or a gray like the bark 
of a beach tree. 

Those expressions would be so much the more exact, that 
Nature invariably employs such tints in vegetables, as deter- 
mining characters and indications of maturity, of vigor or of 
decay ; and that our peasantry can distinguish the different spe- 
cies of wood in the forests by the inspection of their bark sim- 
ply. Thus, not Botany alone, but all the Arts might find in 
vegetables an inexhaustible dictionary of unvarying colours, 
which would not be embarrassed with barbarous and tech- 
nical compound words, but which would continually present 
new images. Our books of Science would thence derive much 
pleasing vivacity, from being embellished by comparisons and 
expressions borrowed from the loveliest kingdom of Nature. 

The great Poets of Antiquity carefully availed themselves 
of this, by referring most of the events of human life to some 
appearance of the vegetable kingdom. Thus Homer compares 
the fleeting generations of feeble mortals to the leaves which 
drop from the trees of the forest at the end of Autumn ; the 
freshness of beauty to that of the rose ; and the paleness which 
overspreads the countenance of a young man wounded to death 
in battle, as well as the attitude of his drooping head, to the co- 
lour and the fouling of a lily, whose root has been torn up by 
the plough. But we satisfy ourselves with repeating the ex- 
pressions of men of genius, without daring to tread in their foot- 
steps. This however is not the worst, for most Naturalists con- 

VoL. II. H 



58 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

sider the colours themselves of vegetables as uccidents simply. 
We shall presently see under what a grievous mistake they la- 
bour, and how widely they have deviated from the sublime plans 
of Nature, by persisting in the prosecution of their mechanical 
and systematic methods. 

It is possible in like manner to trace an approximation of sa- 
vours and smells of every species, and of every country, to 
those of the plants of our gardens and of our fields. The ra- 
nunculus of the meadow has the acridity of the Java-pepper, 
The root of the caryophyllata, or holy-thistle, and the flower of 
the pink, smell like the clove of Amboyna. As to compound 
savours and smells, they may be referred to such as are simple, 
the elements of which I»{ature has scattered over all climates^ 
and which she has united in the class of vegetables. I know a 
species of morel used as food by the Indians, which when boiled 
has the taste of beef. They call it brette. There is a specie^ 
of the crane's-bill, the leaf of which resembles in smell a roasted 
leg of mutton. The muscari, a species of small hyacinth, which 
grows among shrubbery early in the Spring, smells very strong- 
ly of the plumb. It's small monopetalpus flowers, of a delicate 
blue colour and with lips or incisions, have likewise the form of 
that fruit. 

By approximations such as these, the Enghsh Navigator 
Dampier^ and Father du Tertre, have given us, as far as I can 
judge, the most accurate notions of the fruits and flowers which 
grow between the Tropics, by referring them to the fruits and 
flowers of our own climates. Dampier^ for example, in order to 
describe the banana, compares it, when stripped of it's thick five' 
pannelled skin, to a large sausage ; it's substance and colour to 
fresh butter in Winter ; it's taste, a mixture of apple and of the 
pear known by the name of the good-christian, which melts in 
the mouth like marmalade, When this traveller describes some 
^ood fruit of the liidies, he sets your mouth a-watering. He 
possesses a naturally sound understanding, superior at once to 
the methodical trammels of the learned, and to the prejudices 
of the vulgar. He maintains, for instance, and with truth on 
his side, in opposition to the opinion of most navigators, that 
the plantain, or banana, is the king of fruits, without excepting 
even the cocoa. He informs us, that this is likewise the opinion 
of the Spaniards, and that multitudes of families live between 



STUDY XL 59 

the Tropics on this pleasant, wholesome, and nourishing fruit, 
which lasts all the year round, and stands in no need of any of 
the arts of cookery. 

Father du Tertre is not less happy nor less accurate in his 
botanical descriptions. These two travellers give you at a sin- 
gle stroke, by means of trivial similitudes, a precise idea of a 
foreign vegetable, which you would search for to no purpose in 
the Greek names of our first-rate Botanists. This mode of de- 
scribing Nature, by ordinary images and sensations, is held in 
contempt by the learned ; but I consider it as the only one capa- 
ble of exhibiting pictures that have a resemblance, and as the 
true character of genius. With such assistance you will be 
enabled to paint every natural object, and may dispense with 
methods and systems ; without it you will only coin phrases. 

Let us now suggest a few thoughts respecting the form ol 
natural objects. It is here that the the language of Botany, 
and even those of the other Arts, are peculiarly barren. Geo- 
metry, whose particular object this is, has invented scarcely 
more than a dozen regular curves, which are known only to a 
small number of the learned ; and Nature employs an infinite 
multitude of them in the forms of flowers alone. Some of the 
uses of these we shall presently indicate. Not that I mean to 
make of a study prolific of delight a sublime Science, worthy only 
of the genius of a Newton. As Nature has introduced, in my 
opinion, not only the colours, the savours, and the perfumes, 
but likewise every model of form into the leaves, the flowers, 
and the fruits of all climates, whether in trees, in herbage, or in 
mosses ; the vegetable forms of other parts of the World might 
be referred to those of our own country which are most familiar 
to us. Such approximations would be much more intelligible 
than the Greek compound words, and would manifest new rela- 
tions in the different classes of the same kingdom. 

They would be no less necessary for expressing the aggi-ega- 
tions of the flowers on their stems, of the stems round the root, 
and the groups of young plants around the parent-plant. It maj' 
be affirmed, that the names of most of these vegetable aggrega- 
tions and dispositions are yet to be invented ; the gi-eatest Mas- 
ters not ha\'ing been fortunate in characterizing them, or, to 
speak without reserve, not having made it nny part of their study. 



60 srUDIES OF NATURE. 

For example, when Toiirncfort* speaks, in his Voyage to tb^' 
Levant, of a heliotrope of the Isle of Naxos, which he charac- 
terizes thus heliotropum hwmfusmn^ fiore minimo^ seminemagno^ 
the creeping heliotrope, with a very small flower and a large 
seed ; he says that it has it's flowers disposed in form of an ear 
of corn going off" in a scorpion's tail. There are two mistakes 
in this description ; for the flowers of this heliotrope, similar 
from their aggregation to the flowers of the heliotrope of our 
climates, and to that of Peru, are not disposed in form of an ear 
of com, for they are arranged on a horizontal stem, and only on 
one side ; and they bend downward like the tail of a snail, and 
not upward like the tail of a scorpion. 

The same inaccuracy with respect of image is to be found in 
the description which he gives us of the stachis Cretica latifolia^ 
the broad-leaved stachis of Crete : it's flowers, says he, are dis- 
posed in rings. No one can imagine he intends to convey this 
•meaning, that they are disposed like the divisions of the king 
of the chess-board. Under this form however they are repre- 
sented in the drawings of Aubriet^ his designer. I do not know 
any botanic expression which conveys this character of spheri- 
cal aggregations in separate stories of alternate swellings and 
sinkings, and terminating in a pyramid. Barbeu du Bourg^ w^ho 
possesses much imagination v/ith little exactness, calls this form 
verticillate, for what reason I know not. If it is from the Latin 
v;ord vertex^ head or summit, because these flowers thus aggre- 
gated form several summits, this denominatioi M^ould be more 
applicable to several other plants ; and besides it does not ex- 
press the swellings, the sinkings, and the progressive diminution 
of the flowers of the stachis. 

Toitrneforte derives it from the Latin word verticillus ; that 
is, says he, a small weight perforated circularly to receive the 
end of a spindle, in order to make it whirl with greater facility. 
This is going a great way in quest of a very imperfect simili- 
tude to an utensil by no means generally known. In saying 
this however, I would not be considered as failing in the re- 
spect which is due to such a man as Tourneforte^ who first 
cleared for us the botanic path, and was besides a person of pro- 
found erudition. But from this carelessness of the great Mas- 

* Tourrwfort''s Voyage, to tlie Levant, vol. i 



STUDY XI. 61 

ters we may fonn a judgment of the vague, inaccurate, and 
incoherent expressions which fill the vocabulary of Botany, and 
diffuse obscurity over it's descriptions. 

After all I shall be asked. How would you characterize the 
aggregation of the flowers of the two plants which have just 
been mentioned ? By referring them to aggregations similar to 
those of the plants of our own climates. In this there can be 
no difficulty : thus, for example, we might refer the assemblage 
of the flowers of the Grecian heliotrope to that of the French 
or Peruvian heliotrope ; and that of the flowers of the Cretan 
stachis to that of the flowers of the horehound, or of the penny- 
royal. To this might afterwards be added the differences in 
colour, smell, savour, which diversify the species of it. There 
is no occasion to compound foreign terms to describe forms 
which are familiar to us. Nay, I defy any one to convey by 
Greek and Latin words, and with the most learned turn of pe- 
riphrasis, the simple colour of the bark of a tree. But if you 
tell me it resembles that of an oak, I have the shade of it at once. 

These approximations of plants have this farther utility, that 
they present us with the combined whole of an unknown object, 
without which we can form no determinate idea of it. This is 
one of the defects of Botany, it exhibits the characters of vege- 
tables only in succession ; it does not collect them, it decom- 
pounds them. It refers them indeed to a classical order, but 
not to an individual order. This however is the only one which 
the human mind permits us to catch. We love order because 
we are feeble, and because the least confusion disturbs us ; now 
there is no order which we can adopt more easily than that 
which approaches to an order which is familiar to us, and which 
Nature is every where presenting. Try to describe a man fea- 
ture by feature, limb by limb ; be ever so exact, yet you never 
will be able to give me his portrait : but if you refer him to 
some known personage ; if you tell me, for example, that he is 
of the make and mean of a Don Quixote, or willi a nose like 
that of St. Charles Baromeo, and so on, and you paint me his 
picture in four words. It is to the whole of an object that the 
ignorant, .n; epithet which includes the greatest part of Man- 
kind, attach diemselves in the first instance, in order to acquire 
the knowledge of it. 



62 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

It -^vould therefore be of essential importance to have, in Bo- 
tany, an alphabet of colours, savours, smells, forms, and aggre- 
gations derived from our most common plants. Those ele- 
mentary characters would enable us to express ourselves exactl} 
in all the parts of Natural History, and to present to ourselves 
relations equally new and curious. 

In hope that persons of superior intelligence may hereafter 
be induced to take up the subject, I proceed to the discussion 
of it with what ability I have, notwithstanding the embarrass- 
ment of language. 

When we see a multitude of plants of different forms vege- 
tate on the same soil, there is a disposition to believe that those 
of the same climate grow indifferently every where. But those 
only which are produced in places particularly assigned to them 
by Nature, attain there all the perfection of which they are sus- 
ceptible. The same thing holds good with. respect to animals. 
Goats are sometimes reared in marshy places, and ducks on the 
mountains ; but the goat never will acquire in Holland the beau- 
ty of that which Nature clothes with silk on the rocks of An- 
gora ; nor will the duck of Angora ever attain the stature and 
the colours of those which are to be found in the canals of 
Holland. 

If we throw a simple glance on plants, we shall perceive that 
they have relations to the elements which promote their growth ; 
that they have relations to each other, from the groups which 
they contribute to form ; that they have relations to the ani- 
mals which derive nourishment from them ; and finally to Man, 
who is the centre of all the Works of Creation. To these rela- 
tions I give the name of harmonies, and I divide them into 
elementary, in.to vegetable, into animal, and into human. 

By proposing this division, I shall reduce to something like 
order the disquisition on which I am going to enter. It cannot 
be supposed that I should examine them in detail : those of a 
single species would furnish speculations which the application 
of a whole life could not exhaust ; but I shall unfold enough of 
their general harmonies to produce conviction, that an infinite 
Intelligence reigns in this amiable part of Creation, as in the 
rest of the Universe. 

We shall thus make application of the Laws which have been 
previously established, and shall take a glimpse of a multitude 



STUDY XI. 6& 

of others equally worthy of research, and equally calculated to 
excite admiration. Reader, be not astonished at either their 
number or their extent. Let this great truth be deeply im- 
pressed on thy heart: GOD has made nothing invain ! A scho- 
lar, with his systems and methods, finds himself stopped short 
in Nature every step he takes ; while furnished with this as a 
key, the ignorant rustic is able to unlock every door of know- 
ledge. 

ELEMENTARY HARMONIES OF PLANTS. 

Plants have as many principal parts as there are elements 
with which they keep up a relation. By their flowers they stand 
related to the Sun, which fecundates their seeds, and carries 
them on to maturity ; by their leaves they are related to the 
waters which bedew them ; by their stems, to the winds which 
agitate them ; by their roots, with the ground which sustains 
them ; and by their grains, with their situations adapted to their 
|[rowth and increase. Not that these principal parts have no 
indirect relations besides to the other elements, but it will, be 
sufficient for our purpose to dwell on such as are immediate. 

Elementary Harmonies of Plants with the Sun^ by the powers. 

Though Potanists may have made great' and laborious re- 
searches respecting plants, they have paid no attention to any of 
those relations. Fettered by their systems, they have attached 
themselve? to the consideration of them particularly on the side 
of the flowers ; and have arranged them in the same class, 
whereever they found these external resemblances, without so 
much as enquiring what might be the particular use of the fieri 
fication. They have indeed distinguished in it the stamina, the 
antherte, and the stigmata, for the fecundation of the fruit ; but 
excepting this, and some others which respect the interior organ- 
ization, they have neglected or misunderstood the relations 
which the whole plant has with the rest of Nature. 

This partial division has led them into the strangest confusion ; 
for by considering the flowers as the principal characters of ve- 
getation^ and by comprehending in the same class those which 
were similar, they have united plants entirely foreign to each 
other, and have separated, on the contrary, many which are evi- 



64 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

dently of the same genus. Such is, in the first case, the fullers- 
thistle, called dipsacns, which they class with the scabious, be- 
cause of the resemblance of some parts of it's flower, though it 
presents in it's branches, it's leaves, it's smell, it's seed, it's 
prickles, and the rest of it's qualities, a real thistle : and such is, 
in the second, the great chesnut of India, which they exclude 
from the class of chesnut-trees because it has different flowers. 
To class plants from the flowers, that is, from the parts of their 
fecundation, is the same thing with classing animals from those 
of generation.* 

However, though they have referred the character of a plant 
to it's flower, they misunderstand the use of it's most shining 
part, Avhich is that of the corolla. They call that the corolla, 
which is in common language denominated the leaves of a flower. 
It is a Latin word, signifying a litde crown, from the disposition 
of the leaves in many species in the form of coronets, and they 
have given the name of petals to the divisions of that crown. 
Some in truth have acknowledged it to be properly adapted for 
covering the parts of fecundation before the expansion of the 
flower ; but it's calix is much better adapted to this purpose, 
from it's thickness, from it's beards, and sometimes from the 
prickles with which it is invested. Besides, when the corolla 
leaves the stamina exposed, and when it continues fully blown 
for whole weeks, it must of necessity be answering some other 
purpose, for Nature does nothing vain. 

The corolla seems intended to reverberate the rays of the Sun 
on the parts of fecundation ; and we shall be put beyond the 
reach of doubt as to this, if we consider the colour and the form 
of it in most flowers. It has been remarked in the preceding 

" The dipsacits is not arealtliistle ; and as to "the great cliesniit of India," 
which I take to be the acsculus hippocastanum of Linna;u»,it would, iiidetd,be a 
violation of every just principle of botanical science not to " exclude this from 
the class of chesnut-trccs." Surely, these two veg-etables do not differ from each 
other merely in the form, (Jc, of their leaves. Are not tlieir fruits very diffc. 
rent ? I g'rant that, with much attention to boiling', &c, the nuts of the horsc. 
chesnutmay be eaten : and I think Tliunberg tells us, tliatthe nuts of rme spe. 
cies of this family are served up, boiled, at the Cape of Good-IIopc. I have 
tried to cat the nuts of the American species formerly mentioned (see note to 
the first volume, page 34,) but I could, not even by boiling-, subdue their bit- 
terness. — B. SB. 



STUDY XI. 65 

Study, that of all colours, -white is the most proper for reflecting 
the heat : now it is in general that which Nature bestows on the 
flowers that blow at cold seasons and in cold places, as we see 
is the case in the snow-drop, the lily of the valley, the hyacinth, 
the narcissus, and the anemone-nemerosa, which come into 
flower early in the Spring. We must likewise assign to this 
colour such as have slight shades of the rose and of the azure, 
as many hyacinths; as well as those which have yellow and shining 
tints, as the flowers of the dandelion, the butter-flower of the 
meadow, and the wall gilly-flower. But such as blow at warm 
seasons and in warm situations, as the cockle, the wild poppy, 
and the blue-bottle, which grow in summer amongst the corn, 
are dressed in strong colours, such as purple, deep red, and blue, 
for these absorb the heat without greatly reflecting it.* 

I do not know however that there are any flowers entirely 
black ; for in that case it's petals, destitute of all power of reflec- 
tion, would be entirely useless. In general, of v.hatever colour 
a flower may be, the under part of it's corolla which reflects the 
rays of the Sun, is of a much paler tint than the rest. This is 
so very remarkable that Botanists, who generally consider the 
colours of flowers as accidents merely, distinguish it by the 
name of iingincidus (a little nail). The unguicle is that with 
relation to the flower which the belly is with relation to ani- 
mals: it's shade is always clearer than that of the rest of the 
petal. 

The forms of flowers are no less adapted than their colours 
to reflect the heat. Their corolla, divided into petals, are only 

* We have here much ingenuity, and there is some justness in the author's 
observations. But Flora does not tie herself down to sucli rules as these. 
She produces Flowers of all colours, at each of the different seasons. It is 
true tliat many while-flowered plants do bloom in the early spring : and St. 
Pierre mig-lit liave added, that tlic beautiful Christmas-rose (hellel>orus ni^-er) 
spreads its white petals upon tlic bosom of the Snow. But the catalogue of 
early -flowering- plants, with blossoms of a red, blue, violet, or j ellow coloui-, 
is very great. I should take much pleasure in pointing our to our amiable au- 
thor these exceptions to his system, along tlic banks of our Delaware, Schuyl- 
kill, and Susquehanna. Bnt that pleasure I shall never have. And as to the 
Summer-season, so many jilants with wiiitc flowers (at least witii the radius 
of the flower white) are produced at this season in our corn-fields, along road- 
sides, &c., that one might fill a page Willi the bare names of them. I must not, 
however, omit to name different species of clirymnthemv.m, or ox-eye, matri- 
'•aria, or wild chamomile, cri^crou, or floe-banc, &c. — B. S. B. 

Vol. II. ♦ I 



66 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

an assemblage of mirrors directed toward one focus. Of these 
they have sometimes four, Avhich are plain, as the flower of 
the cole-wort in the cruciform ; or a complete circle, as the dai- 
sy in the class of radiated ; or spherical portions, as the rose ; or 
entire spheres, as the bells of the lily of the valley ; or cones 
mutilated, as the Foxglove, the corolla of which is formed like 
a sewing thimble. 

Nature has placed at the focuses of these, plain, spherical, 
elliptical, parabolic, and other mirrors, the parts of the fecunda- 
tion of plants, as she has placed those of generation in animals 
in the warmts. p rts of their bodies. These curves, which Geo- 
metricians have not yet examined, merit their most profound 
researches. Is it not astonishing that they should have be- 
stowed such learned pains to find out curves altogether imagi- 
mary and frequently useless, and that they should have neglect- 
ed to study those which Nature employs so regularly, and in 
such variety, in an infinite number of objects? Be this as it may, 
Botanists have given themselves still less trouble about the 
matter. They comprehend those of flowers under a small 
iiumber of classes, without paying the slightest attention to their 
use, nay without so much as apprehending that they could have 
any. They confine themselves entirely to the division of their 
petals, which frequently change nothing of the configuration of 
their curves ; and they frequently class under the same name 
those which are the most opposite. Thus, under the general de- 
signation of the monopetalous (those that have a single petal), 
they include the spheroid of the Illy of the valley and the trum.- 
pet of the convolvolus. 

On this subject a very remarkable circumstance claims our 
notice, namely, that frequently such as is the curve formed by 
the border or upper extremity of the petal, such too is the plan 
of the whole petal itself ; so that nature presents to us the cut 
or shape of each flov/er in the contour of it's petals, and gives 
us at once it's plan and it's elevation. Thus roses, and the 
whole tribe bearing this denomination, have the border of their 
petals in sections of a circle, like the curve of the flowers them- 
selves ; the pink and blue-bottle, which have their selvage 
jiotched, present the plans of their flowers plaited up like fans, 
jmd form a multitude of focuses, 



f 



STUDY XI. 67 

_ _ t oi the real flower, these curious remarks may be 

verified from the drawings of Painters who have been the most 
exact in copying plants, but who are indeed very few in number. 
Such is, among those few, Aubriet^ who has drawn the plants 
of Tournefori's Voyage to the Levant,* with the taste of a Pain- 
ter and the precision of a Botanist. You may there see the 
confirmation of what I have just been advancing. For ex- 
ample, the scorzonera Grceca saxatilis £?" marit'ima foliis varie 
laciniatis (the Greek saxatile and marine scorzonera, with leaves 
variously scolloped) which is there represented, has it's petals 
or half-flowers squared at the extremity, and plane in their sur- 
face. The flower of the stachis Cretka latifolui (die broad- 
leaved stachis of Crete,) which is a monopetalous tubular plant, 
has the upper part of it's corolla undulated, as well as it's tube* 
The campanula Grceca saxatilis jacobece foliis (the Greek bell- 
flower of the rocks, with ragwort leaves) presents these conso- 
nances in a manner still more striking. This campanula, which 
Tournefort considers as the most beautiful he had ever seen, 
and which he sowed in the Royal Garden at Paris, where it 
succeeded very well, is of the pentagonal form. Each of it's 
faces is formed of two portions of a circle, the focuses of which 
undoubtedly meet on the same anthera ; and the border of this 
campanula is notched into five parts, each of which is likewise 
cut into the form of a Gothic arch, as each subdivision of the 
flower is. Thus, in order to know at once the curve of a flov,'- 
er, it is suflicient to examine the brim of it's petal. 

It 13 of much utility to attend to this obser\ation, for other- 
wise it would be extremely difiicult to detei-mine the focuses of 
the petals. Besides, flowers lose their internal curves in her- 
baries. I believe these consonances to be general ; I pi-esume 
not however to assert that they admit of no exceptions. Na- 
ture may deviate from this order in some species, for reasons 
which I know not. It cannot be too frequently repeated — She 
has no general and unvarying Law, except the accommodation 
of beings endowed with sensibility. The relations just wo\f 
suggested between the curve of the brim and that of the petal, 
seem beside to be founded on this universal Law, as thcv i^resenr 
conformities of such agreeable^ approximation. 

■ 'fintmt>fr.rt'i> Voynge Iti 'he Ix-vaHt, vol i 



68 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

The petals appear to such a degree destined to wann the parts 
of fecundation, that Nature has placed a circle of them around 
most compound (lowers, Avhich are themselves aggregations of 
small tubes, infinite in number, that form so many particular 
flowers, or, if you will, flowrets. This is obviously remarkable 
in the petals Avhich surround the disks of daisies and sun-flow- 
ers. They are likewise to be met with around most of the um- 
belliferovis plants : though each flowret which composes them 
has it's particular petals, there is a circle of others still greater 
which encompasses their assemblage, as you may see in the flow- 
ers of the daucus. 

Nature has still other means of multiplying the reflexes of 
heat in flowers. Sometimes she places them on stems of no 
great elevation, in order to collect warmth from the reflections 
of the Earth ; sometimes she glares over their coroUse with a 
shining varnish, as the yellow meadow-ranunculus, known by 
the trivial name of butter-flower. Sometimes she withdraws 
the corolla, and makes the parts of fecundation to shoot from 
the partition of an ear, of a cone, or of the branch of a tree. 
The forms of tlie spike and of the cone appear to be the best 
adapted for reverberating on them the action of the Sun, and 
to ensure their fructification, for they always present some one 
side or another sheltered from the cold. Nay, it is very re- 
markable that the aggregation of flov/ers in a conical and spike 
form is very common to herbs and trees of the North, and 
rarely to be found is those of the South. Most of the grami- 
neous plants which I have seen in southern Countries do not 
carry their grains in a spike or closely compacted ear, but in 
flowing tufts, and divided into a multitude of particular stems, 
as the millet and rice. The maize or Turkey-corn, I admit, 
bears it's grains in a large ear ; but that ear is for a consider- 
able time shut up in a bag, and in bursting fi-om it, pushes away 
over it's head a long covering of hair, which seems entirely 
destined to tlie purpose of sheltering it's flowers from the heat 
of the Sun. 

Finally, what confirms me in the belief that the flowers of 
plants are adapted to the action of heat, conformably to the na- 
ture of every climate is this, that many of our European plants 
regetate extremely well in tlic Antilles Islands, but never come 



STUDY XI. 69 

10 seed there. Father du Tertre observed, that in those islands* 
the cabbage, the sainfoin, the lucern, the savory, the sweet basil, 
the nettle, the plaintain, the wormwood, the sage, the liver- 
wort, the amaranth, and all our species of gramineous plants, 
throve there wonderfully well, but never produced grains. 
These observations demonstrate, that it is neither the air nor 
the soil which is inimical to them, but the Sun, which acts with 
too much vivacity on their flowers, for most of these plants 
have theirs aggregated into an ear, which generally encrcases 
the repercussion of the solar rays. 

I believe, at the same time, that such plants might be natu- 
ralized to the West-India Islands, as well as many others of 
our temperate climates, by selecting from the varieties of their 
species, those whose flowers have the smallest fields and whose 
colours are the deepest, or those whose pannicles are divergent. 

Not that Nature has no other resources except such as these 
to make plants of the same genus attain perfection in different 
seasons and climates. She can render their flowers capable of 
reflecting the heat in different degrees of Latitude, without anv 
very sensible alteration of the form. Sometimes she mounts 
them on elevated stems, to remove them from the influence of 
the refraction of the ground. It is thus she has placed between 
the Tropics most of the apparent flowers upon trees. I have 
seen very few there in the meadows, but a gi-eat many in the 
forests. In those countries you must look aloft in order to Lave 
a sight of flowers ; in- our native climes we must cast our eyes 
on the ground for this purpose, for with us flowers grow on her- 
bage and shrubbery. Sometimes she expands them under the 
shade of leaves ; such are those of the palm-tree, of the banana, 
and of the jucqukr^ which grow close to the trunk of the tree. 
Such likewise are, in our temperate climates those large white 
bell-formed flowers, known by the name of Lady 's-smock, which 
delight in the shade of the willow. 

There are others, such as most part of the convolvoluses, 
which expand only in the night ; others grow close to the ground 
and exposed, as the pans}-, but their draper}- is dusky and vcl- 
veted. There ai-e some which receive the action of the Sun 
when at a considerable height, as the tulip ; but Nature has 

• Natural History of tJie Antilles, l>y Fatitcr du Tertre. 



70 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

taken her precautions so exactly, as to bring out this stately 
flower only in the Spring, to paint it's petals with strong colours, 
and to daub the bottom of it's cup with black.* Others are 
disposed in girandoles, and receive the effect of the solar rays 
only under one point of the compass. Such is the girandole of 
the lilach, which, pointing with various aspects to the East, to 
the South, to the West, and to the North, presents on the same 
cluster flowers in bud, half open, fully blown, fading, and all the 
delightful shades of the florification. 

There are flowers, such as the compound, which being in a 
horizontal position and completely exposed, behold the Sun, 
like the Horizon itself, from his rising to his setting ; of this 
description is the flower of the dandelion. But it possesses very 
peculiar means of sheltering itself from the heat : it closes en- 
tirely whenever the heat becomes excessive. It has been ob- 
served to open in Summer at half an hour after five in the 
morning, and to collect it's petals toward the centre about nine 

* This flower from it's colour is in Persia the emblem of perfect lovers- 
Chardin tells us, that when a young' Persian presents a tulip to liis mistress, 
it is his intention to convey to her this idea, that like this flower he has a 
countenance all on fire, and a heart reduced to a coal. There is no one Work 
of Nature but what awakens in man some moral affection. The habits of so- 
ciety insensibly efface at length the sentiment of it ; but we always find it hi 
vigour among Nations who still live near to Nature. 

Many alphabets have been imagined in China in the earlier ages after tlic 
wings of birds, fishes, shells, and flowers : of these very cui'ious cliaractcrs 
may be seen in the China Illustrated of Father Kercher. It is from the influ- 
ence of those natural manners, that the Orientals employ so many similitudes 
and comparisons in their languages. Though our metaphysical eloquence 
makes no great use of them, they frequently produce nevertheless a very 
striking effect. J. J. Rousseau has taken notice of that which tlie Ambassa- 
dor of the Scythians addressed to Darius. Without speaking a word, he pre- 
sented him with a bird, a frog, a mouse, and five arrows.* I/erodotus relates, 
that the same Darius sent word to the Greeks of Ionia who were laying- waste 
Uie country, that if they did not give over their depredations he would treat 
them like pines. The Greeks, wlio by this time had become infected with wit, 
and had proportionably begun to lose siglit of Nature, did not comprehend 
the meaning of this. Upon enquiry, they at length discovered that Dai-ins 
meant they should understand it to be his resolution utterly to exterminate 
them ; for the pine-tree once cut down shoots out again no more. 

* Darius atjirst understood this an a complete surrender of Sajthiun independ- 
ence into his hands ; but the evmt instructed him, that this high-splritt'd people 
intended to convey a bold defiance : " Unless you can fiy as a bird, die-- a? f. 
" moiiset s'ivim as a/ro^, our arrows shall reach you." — ^^H. II. 



STUDY XI. 71 

o'clock. The flower of the garden-lettuce, which is on the 
contrary in a vertical plane, opens at seven o'clock and shuts 
at ten. 

From a series of similar observations it was, that the cele- 
brated Linncms formed a botanical time-piece ; for he had 
found plants which opened their flowers at every hour of the 
day and of the night. There is cultivated in the King's Gar- 
den at Paris a species of serpentine aloes, without prickles, 
whose large and beautiful flower exhales a strong odour of the 
vanilla during the time of it's expansion, which is very short. 
It does not blow till toward the month of July, and about five 
o'clock in the evening : You then perceive it gradually open 
it's petals, expand them, fade and die. By ten o'clock of the 
same night it is totally withered, to the great astonishment of 
the spectators, who flock in crowds to the sight ; for what is 
uncommon is alone admired. The flower of our common 
thorn, I do not mean that of the white-thorn, is still more ex- 
traordinary ; for it flowers so rapidly that there is scarce time 
to observe it's expansion. 

These observations, taken in their connection, clearly de- 
monstrate the relations of the coroUse to the heat of the Sun. 
To those which have been already produced, I shall subjoin 
one more by way of conclusion, which evidently pi-oves the 
use for which they are intended ; it is this. The duration of 
their existence is regulated by the quantity of heat which it is 
their destination to collect. The hotter it is the shorter ^s their 
duration. They almost all drop off" as soon as the plant is fe- 
cundated. 

But if Nature withdraws the greatest number of flowers from 
the too violent action of the Sun, she destined others to appear 
in all the lustre of his rays, without sustaining the least injurv 
from them. On the first she bestows dusky reflectors, or sucli 
as can close themselves as occasion requires ; she provides 
others with parasols. Such is the crown-imperial, whose flow- 
ers, like a bell inverted, grow under the shade of a tuft of 
leaves. The chrj-santhemum-peruvianum, or to employ a bet- 
ter known term, the tumsol, which turns continually toward the 
Sun, covers itself, like Peru the country from which it comes, 
with dewy clouds, which cool and refresh it's flowers during 
the mpst violent heat of the day. Tlic white flower of the ly- 



72 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

chnis, which blows in our fields in Summer, and presents at a 
distance the resemblance of a Maltese-cross, has a species of 
contraction or narrow collar placed at it's centre, so that it's 
large shining petals turned back outwardly do not act upon it s 
stamina. The white narcissus has in like manner a small tun- 
nel. But Nature stands in no need to create new parts, in or- 
der to communicate new characters to her Works. She de- 
duces them at once from existence and from non-existence ; 
and renders them positive or negative at her pleasure. She 
has given curves to most flowers, for the purpose of collecting 
the heat at their centre : she employs the same curves when 
she thinks proper, in order to dissipate the heat : she places 
the focuses of them so as to act outwardly. It is thus that the 
petals of the lily are disposed, which are so many sections of 
the parabola. Notwithstanding the large size and the whiteness 
of it's cup, the more it expands the more it disperses the fer- 
vent heat of the Sun ; and while in the middle of Summer, at 
noon-day, all other flowers, parched by his burning rays, droop 
and bend their heads to the ground, the lily rears his head like 
a king, and contemplates face to face the dazzling orb, which 
is travelling majestically through the Heavens. 

I proceed to display in a few words, the positive or negative 
relations of flowers with respect to the Sun, to the five elemen- 
tary forms which I have laid down in the preceding Study as 
the principles of the harmony of bodies. This is not so much 
a plan which I take upon me to prescribe to Botanists, as an in- 
vitation to engage in a career so rich in observations, and to 
correct my errors by communicating some portion of their know- 
ledge. 

There arc, therefore, reverberating powers perpendicular^ co- 
nical^ spherical^ elliptical^ parabolical^ or plane. To these may 
be referred most of the curves of flowers. There are likewise 
iiome flowers in form of a parasol, but the others are much more 
numerous ; for the negative effects in every harmony are in much 
greater number than the positive. For example, there is but one 
single way of coming into life, and there arc thousands of going 
f)Ut of it. We shall oppose however to every positive relation 
of flowers to the Sun, a principal negative relation, that we may 
be enabled to compare their effects in every Latitude. 



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STUDY XI. 7Z 

Perpendicular reverberating flowers are those which grow 
adhering by the back to a cone, to long catkins, or to an ear : 
such are those of the cedar, of the larch, of the fir, of the birch, 
of the juniper ; of most of the northern gramineous plants, of 
the vegetables of cold and lofty mountains, as the cypress and 
the pine ; or of those which flower in our climates about the end 
of Winter, as the hazel and the willow. A part of the flowers 
in this position is sheltered from the North wind, and receives 
the reflection of the Sun from the South side. 

It is remarkable that all vegetables which bear cones, catkins, 
or spikes, present them at the extremity of their stems, exposed 
to all the action of the Sun. It is not so with those which grow 
within the Tropics ; most of which, such as the palm-tree, bear di- 
vergent flowers attached to pendent clusters, and shaded by their 
branches. The greatest part of the gramineous plants of warm 
countries have likewise divergent ears ; such are the millets of 
Africa. The solid ear of the American maize is crowned with 
a hairy tuft which shelters its flowers from the Sun. On the 
annexed plate are represented an ear of European corn, and an 
ear of the rice of Southern Asia, to furnish the means of com- 
parison. 

Conical reverberating flowers reflect on the pai-ts of florifi- 
cation a complete cone of light. It's action is very powerful j 
and it is accordingly very remarkable, that Nature has given 
this configuration of petal only to flowers which grow under the 
shade of trees, as to the convolvulus, which scrambles up around 
their trunk ; and that she has assignetl to this flower a very tran- 
sient duration, for it scarcely lasts half a day; and when it's fe- 
cundation is completed, the border contracts inwardly, and ga- 
thers together like a purse. Nature has however given it a 
place in southern latitudes, but she has there tinged it with vio- 
let and blue, in order to weaken the effect. Besides, this flow- 
er scarcely ever opens in hot countries except in the night. 
From this nocturnal character I presume it is, that we are 
chiefly enabled to distinguish the convolvulus of the South from 
that of our own climates, which blows in the day time. In the 
plate we have represented the day-con\ olvulus, or that which is 
native with us, expanded ; and that of the night, or of hot coun- 
tries, closed ; th^t one having a positive character with the light 
and the other a negative. 

Vol. II. K 



r4 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

The flowers which partake the most of this conical form are 
those which grow early in the Spring, as the flower of the arum, 
which is formed like a cornet ; or those which thrive on lofty 
mountains, as the bears-ear of the Alps. When Nature employs 
it in Summer it is almost always with negative characters, as m 
the flowers of the Fox-glove, which are inclined, and dyed a 
deep red or blue colour. 

Spherical reverberating flowers are those whose peta's are 
formed into segments of a circle. One might amuse himself 
very agreeably, in observing that these spherically formed petals 
have at their focuses the antherse of the flower supported on 
fibrets, longer or shorter as the eff'ect intended may require. It 
deserves farther to be remarked, that each petal is adapted to 
its particular anthera, sometimes to two, or even to three : so 
that the number of petals in a flower divides almost always ex- 
actly that of the antherse. As to the petals, they scarcely ever 
exceed the number of five in rose-formed flowers, as if Nature 
had designed to express in that the number of the five terms of 
elementary progression, of v/hich this beautiful form is the har- 
inonip expression. 

Spherical reverberating flowers are very common in our tem- 
perate climates. They do not throw back the whole reflection 
of their disks on the antherae like the convolvulus, but only the 
fifth part, because each of their petals has it's particular focus. 
The rose-formed flower is spread over most fruit trees, as the 
apple, the pear, the peach, the plumb, the apricot, and the like ; 
and over a great part of our shrubbery and herbage, such as the 
black and white-thorn, the bramble, the anemone, and many 
others, most of which produce for Man a nutritious, fruit, and 
Avhich flower in the month of May. To this form may be like- 
wise referred such as are spheroidal; the lily of the valley for 
example. 

This form, which is ;he harmonic expression of the five ele- 
mentary forms, was admirably adapted to a temperature like 
ours, which is itself the proportional medium between that of 
the Icy and of the Tgrid Zone. As spherical reflectors collect, 
g great quantity of rays at their focuses, their action is very pow- 
erful, but at the same time of very transient duration. It is 
well known that nothing fades rnoj-e ouicklv than a rose, 



STUDY XL 75 

Kose-formed flowers are very rare between the Tropics, es- 
J)ecially those whose petals are white. They thrive only under 
the shade of trees. I have known many of the inhabitants of 
the Isle of France make fruitless efforts to raise Strawberries 
there ; but one of them, who lived indeed in an elevated part of 
the island, found means of procuring them in great plenty, by 
planting his beds under trees, and in ground but half-cleared.* 

As a compensation for this. Nature has multiplied in warm 
countries papilionaceous or leguminous flowers. The legumi- 
nous flower is entirely opposite to the rose-formed. It usually 
has five rounded petals like the other: but instead of being 
disposed round the centre of the flower in order to reverberate 
thither the rays of the Sun, they ai'e on the contrary folded in- 
ward around the antherac for the purpose of sheltering them. 
You distinguish in them a pavilion, two wings, and a ridge, 
usually divided into two, by which the antherse and the embiy- 
on of the fruit are closely covered over. Between the Tropics 
accordingly, a great number of trees, shrubs, creepers, and 
grasses, have papilionaceous flowers. Every species of our 
peas and french-bcans succeed there wonderfully well, and 
those countries produce infinite varieties of them. Nay it is 
remarkable, that even at home those plants delight in a sandy 
and warm soil, and exhibit their flowers in the middle of Sum- 
mer. I consider leguminous flowers therefore as of the para- 
sol kind. To those same negative effects of the Sun may like- 
wise be referred the form of flowers with gullets, which conceal 
theil- antherse, such as the calfs-snout, which takes pleasure iii 
blowing on the sides of walls. 

Elliptical reverberating flowers are those which present 
oval-formed cups, narrower a-top than in the middle. It is veiy 
perceptible that this form of cup, the perpendicular petals of 
which approach toward each other at the summit, shelters in 
part the bottom of the flower : and that the curves of these same 
petals, which have several focuses, do not collect the rays of tlie 

* I do not think Ihis observation is correct. " Rose-formcil flowers" are f:if 
i'rom beings rare between the Tropics of America. The strawberry arrives to 
(TTcat perfection between the Ti'opics. I coiild easily fill a 'page witli the 
mere names of these rosccex which are truly /)?(i7tt<c tropicales. Perhaps it is 
niore^true, that rosc-formed flowers Mith wliite petals, rrc pcoii'iarly rare be 
twcen the Jiniits m.entio!>ed bv oui" author— -B. ^. H 



76 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

Sun toward one single centre : such is the tulip. It is remarka- 
ble that this oblong-fonned flower is more common in warm 
countries than the rose-formed. The tulip grows spontaneously 
in the vicinity of Constantinople. To this form may likewise 
be referred that of the liliaceous, which are more common there 
than elsewhere. However, when Nature employs them in 
countries still farther to the South, or in the middle of Summer, 
it is almost always with negative characters ; thus she has in- 
verted the tulip-formed flowers of the imperial, which is origi- 
nally from Persia, and has shaded tj^em with a tuft of foliage. 
Thus she bends back outwardly in onr climates the petals of the 
lily ; but the species of white lilies which grow between the 
Tropics have besides their petals cut out into thongs. 

Flowers with parabolic or plane mirrors, are those which 
reflect the rays of the Sun in parallel directions. The configu- 
ration of the first gives much lustre to the corolla of these flow- 
ers, which emit from their bosom, if I may be allowed the ex- 
pression, a bundle of light, for they collect it toward the bottom 
of their corolla, and not on the antherse. It is perhaps in order 
to weaken the action of it, that Nature has terminated flowers 
of this form in a species of cowl, which Botanists call spur. It 
is probably in this tube that the focus of their parabola termi- 
nates, which is perhaps situated there, as in many curves of this 
kind beyond it's summit. Flowers of this sort are frequent be- 
tween the Tropics ; such is the flower of the poincillade of the 
Antilles, otherwise called the peacock flower, on account of it's 
beauty ; such is also the nastiirthun^ or nun of Peru. It is even 
pretended that the perennial species is phosphoric in the night- 
time.'^ 

Flowers with plain mirrors produce the same effects ; and 
Natui-e has multiplied the models of them in our Summer flow- 

* Saint-Pierre's nasturtium, or nun of Peru, is the iropjcolum ina/us of 
I^innxus : " the f:ur tropxo" of Dr. Darwin. This plant is both annual and 
perennial. The property which is here called " phosphoric," was first ob- 
served by one of the daughters of Linnaeus, Elizabeth Christina, and has been 
supposed, by several very competent judges, to be more of an electrical na- 
ture. *• Flores ante crepusculvjii fulminant, observante !E. C. Linucea." See 
lilnnsi, species plantarum, torn. i. p. 490 : also, Darwin's Loves of the Plants. 
Saint-Pierre seems uncommonly attached to this plant, which, indeed, is not 
without both its beauties and uses to recommend it. He again mentions it 
in his third volume. — B. S. B. 



STUDY XI. Ti 

ers, and in those which thrive in warm and sandy soils, as the 
radiated ; such are the flowers of the dandeUon. We likewise 
meet with them in the flowers of the doronicum^ of the lettuce, 
of the succory ; in the asters, in the meadow daisy, and others. 
But she has placed the original model of them under the Line, 
in America, in the broad sun-flower, which we have borrowed 
from Brasil.* 

These being flowers whose petals have the least activity, are 
likewise those which are of the longest duration. Their attitudes 
are varied without end. Such as are horizontal, like those of 
the dandelion, close, it is said, toward the middle of the day ; 
they are likewise such as are the most exposed to the action of 
the Sun, for they receive his rays from his rising to his setting. 

There are others which instead of closing their petals invert 
them, and this produces nearly the same effect ; such is the flower 
of the camomile. Others are perpendicular to the Horizon, as 
the flower of lettuce. The blue colour with which it is tinged, 
contributes farther towards weakening the rays of the Sun, 
which in this respect would act too vehemently upon it. Othei's 
have only four horizontal petals, such as the cruci-form ; the spe- 
cies of which are very common in hot countries. Others bear 
around their disk flowrets which overshadow it ; such is the blue 
bottle of the corn-field, which is represented on the plate in op- 
position to the daisy. This last flowers early in the Spring and 
the other in the middle of Summer. 

Wc have said somewhat of the general forms of flowers, but 
we should never come to a conclusion were Ave to enter into a 
discussion of their various aggregations. I believe however that 
they may be referred to the plan itself of the flowei's. Thus the 
umbelliferous flowers present themselves to the Snn under the 
same aspects as the radiated. 

I must beg leave to recapitulate only what has been said res- 
pecting thesr reflecting mirrors. The reverberated perpendi- 
cular of a cone or ear form, collects on the antherse of the flowers 

* According to Linnaeus, the sun-flower fheUauthus annuusj is a native oi' 
Peru. But this superb vegetable was also found in Mexico, in Florida, in Vir- 
ginia, &c. Of late, it has been discovered in the vast regions beyond tlie 
Mississippi. For ages, it has been cultivated as an article of food, by the na- 
tivr •K'licncans. It is difficult to say, in what part of America, the plant wa* 
originally sown by the kind hand of Nature — I). S. C 



rs STUDIES OF NATURE. 

an arch of liglit of ninety degrees from the Zenith to the Hori- 
zon. It farther presents in the inequality of it's panels reflecting 
surfaces. 

The conical reflector collects a cone of light of sixty degrees. 
The spherical reflector unites in each of it's five petals an arch 
of light of thirty six degrees of the Sun's course, supposing that 
luminary to be in the Equator. 

The elliptical reflector collects a smaller quantity from the 
perpendicular position of it's petals ; and the parabolic reflector 
as well as that with plane mirrors, sends back the rays of the Sun 
divergently or in parallels. 

The first form appears to be very common in the flowers of 
the Icy Zones ; the second in those which thrive under the shade; 
the third in temperate latitudes ; the fourth in warm countries ; 
and the fifth in the Torrid Zone. It would likewise appear 
that Nature multiplies the divisions of their petals in order to 
diminish their action. Cones and ears have no petals. The 
convolvulus has but one ; roSe formed flowers have five ; el- 
liptical flowers, as the tulip and the illiaceous, have six; flowers 
with plane reflectors, as the radiated, have a great number. 

Farther, flowers have parts adapted to the other elements. 
Some are clothed externally with a hairy garment to shelter 
them from the cold. Others are formed to blow on the surface 
of the water ; such are the yellow roses of the nymphaea, which 
float on lakes, and accommodate themselves to the various move- 
ments of the waves without being wet by them, by means of the 
long and pliant stems to which they are attached. Those of the 
valisneria are still more artfully disposed. They grow in the 
Rhone, and would be there exposed to frequent inundation bv 
the sudden swellings of that river, had not Nature given them 
stems formed like a corkscrew, which draw out at once to the 
kngth of three or four feet. 

There are other flowers adapted to the winds and to the rains, 
as those of pease, which are furnished with little boats to cover 
and shelter the stamina and the embryons of their fruits.* Ee* 

* I am persuaded that tlie bearing of most flowers is adapted to the rains 
and for this reason it is that many of them have the form of mufflers or rid"-es. 
like little boats invci'ted, which shelter the parts of fecundation. I have re- 
marked that many species of flowers possess the instinct, shall I -ixiitur^ to 
ciilj it ? of closing- themselves when \\yfi aii- is humid and that tlic impreg-nation 



STUDY xl. ro 

bides, they have large pavilions, and rest on tails bent and elas- 
tic as a nei-ve ; so that when the wind blows over a field of ptasc, 
you may see all the flowers turn their back to the wind like so 
many weather cocks. 

This class appears to be very generally diffused over places 
much exposed to the winds. Dampier relates that he found the 
desert shores of New-Guinea covered with pease, whose blos- 
soms were red and blue. In our climates the fern, which 
crowns the summits of hills always battered with the wind and 
the rain, bears it's flower turned toward the Earth on the back 
of it's leaves. There are even certain species of plants the 
flowering of which is regulated by the irregularity of the winds. 
Such are those the male and female individuals of which grow 
on separate stems. Tossed hither and thither over the earth 
frequently at great distances from each other, the powder of 
the male could fecundate but a very few female flowers, unless 
at the season of their florification the wind blew from various 
quarters. Wen erful to be told ! There are invariable gene- 
rations depending on the variableness of the wind. Hence I 
presume that in countries where the winds always blow from 
the same quarter, as between the Tropics, the species of florifi- 
cation must be uncommon ; and if it be found there at all, it 
must be regulated precisely according to the season when those 
regular winds vary. 

It is impossible to entertain a doubt respecting those admi- 
rable relations, however remote they may appear, when we ob- 
serve the attention with which Natur^ has preserved flowers 
from the shocks to which they might be exposed, from the winds 
themselves, upon their stems. She inwraps them for the most 
part in an integument, which IJotanists call the calix. The 
more r^ynous the plant is the thicker is the calix of it's flower. 
She sometimes fringes it with littie cushions and beards, as may 
be seen in the rose-bud. Thus the mother puts a pad round 
the head of her little child, to secure it against accidents from 
falling. Nature has so clearly marked her intention as to this, 

^f fiuit tree blossoms is injured much more by the rain than by the frost. 
Th.s observation is of essential importance to gai'deners, who frequently cause 
tlic flowers of their strawberry plants to miscarr\ by watering' them. As far 
as lean judg'c, it would be better to water plants in blossom by little trenchefc 
;>ccordlng to the Indian method, rather tltftu by aspcrsinij^ 



80 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

in the case of the flowers of ramous plants, that she has de^ 
prived of this clothing such as grow on stems that are not 
branchy, and where they are in no danger from the agitation 
of the winds. This may be remarked with regard to the flow- 
ers of Solomon's seal, of the lily of the valley, of the hyacinth, 
of the narcissus, of most of the liliaceous, and of plants which 
bear their flowers isolated on perpendicular stems. 

Flowers have farther very curious relations with animals and 
with Man, from the diversity of their configurations and from 
their smells. Those of one species of the orchis represent bugs, 
and exhale the same unpleasant odour. Those ofa species of 
the arum resemble putrid flesh, and have the infection of it to 
such a degree, that the flesh-fly resorts thither to deposit her 
eggs. But those relations, hitherto very superficially investi- 
gated, do not come in so properly under this article ; it is suf- 
ficient for me to have her demonstrated, that they actually have 
very clearly marked relations with the elements, and especially 
with the Sun. 

When jbotanists shall have diffused over this branch of the 
subject all the light of which it is susceptible, by examining 
their tocuses, the elevation to which they rise above the ground, 
the shelter or the reflection of the bodies which are in their vi- 
cinity, the variety of their colours, in a word, ail the means by 
which Nature compensates the differences of their several ex- 
posures, and they will no longer doubt about those elementary 
harmonies ; they Avill acknowledge that the flower, far from 
presenting an unvarying character in plants, exhibits on the con- 
trary a perpetual character of diversity. It is by this princi- 
pally that Nature varies the species in the same genus of plant, 
in order to render it susceptible of fecundation on different 
sites. This explains the reason why the flowers of the great 
chesnut of India, but originally from America, are not the same 
with those of the European chesnut ; and that those of the ful- 
lers-thistle, which thrives on the brink of rivers, are different 
from those of thistles which grow in lofty and dry places. 

A very extraordinary observation shall serve irrefragably to 
confirm all that we have just now advanced : it is this. That a 
plant sometimes totally changes the form of it's flowers in the 
generation which reproduces it. This phenomenon greatly 
astonished the celebrated Linnceus the first time that it was 



STUDY XI. 81 

anfomitted to his consideration. One of his pupils brought him 
one day a plant perfectly similar to the linarium, the flower ex- 
cepted ; the colour, the savour, the leaves, the stem, the root, 
the calix, the pericarpium, the seed, in a word, the smell, which 
is a remarkable circumstance, were exactiy the same, only it's 
flowers were in form of a tunnel, whereas those of the linarium 
are gullet-formed. Linnccus imagined at first that his pupil in- 
tended to put his knowledge to the test, by adapting a strange 
flower to the stem of that plant ; but he satisfied himself that it 
was a real linarium, the flower of which Nature had totally 
changed. It had been found among other linaria, in an island 
S'Cven miles distant from Upsal, near the shore of the sea on a 
sandy and gravelly bottom. He himself put it to the proof, 
that it re-perpetuated itself in this new state by it's seeds. He 
afterwards found some of it in other places : and what is still 
more extraordinary, there were among these last some which 
carried on the same stalk flowers tunnel-formed, and flowers 
gullet-formed. 

He gave to this new vegetable the name of pelorum from a 
Greek word, which signifies prodigy. He afterwards observ- 
ed the same variations in other species of plants, and among the 
rest in the eriocephalous thistle, the seeds of which produce 
every year in the garden of Upsal the fantastic thistle of the 
Pyrennees.^* This illustrious Botanist accounts for these trans- 
formations, as being the efl'ect of a mongrel generation, dis- 
turbed by the fecundating farina of some other flower in the 
vicinity. It may be so ; to his opinion however mav be oppo- 
sed the flowers of the pelorum and of the linarium, which he 
found united on the same individual. Had it been the fecun- 
dation which transformed this plant, it ought to have given si- 
milar flowers in the whole individual. Besides, he himself has 
observed that there was not the slightest confusion in the other 
parts of the pelorum, any more than in it's virtues ; but this 
must have been the case, as well as in the flower, had it been 
produced by a mixture of some strange breed. Finally, the 
pelorum re-produced itself by seed, which does not take place 
ill any one mongrel species of animals. 

* rpsalian Dissertation, for Dec. 174 I ; p-ipr AP. note 6 

Vol. 11. J, 



82 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

This sterility in mongrel branches is an effect of the sage core- 
sistency of Nature, who cuts off divergent generations, in order 
to prevent the primordial species from being confounded, and 
from at length disappearing altogether. As to the rest, I pry 
neither into the causes nor the means which she is pleased to 
conceal from me, because they far transcend my comprehen- 
sion. I confine my enquiries to the ends which she kindly un- 
folds ; I confirm myself in the belief, from the variety of flowers 
ill the same species and sometimes in the same individual, that 
they serve in certain cases as reflectors to vegetables, for the 
purpose of collecting, conformably to their position, the rays of 
the Sun on the parts of fecundation ; and in other cases as para- 
sols, to put thv.ni under covert from excessive heat. 

Nature deals by them nearly as she does by animals which 
are exposed to the same variations of Latitude. In Africa she 
strips the sheep of the woolly fleece, and gives her sleek smooth 
hair, like that of the horse : and to the North on the contrary 
she clothes the horse with the shaggy fur of the sheep. I have 
been an eye-witness of this double metamorphosis at the Cape 
of Good-Hope and in Russia. I have seen at Petersburg Nor- 
man and Neapolitan horses, whose hair naturally short, was so 
long and so frizzled in the nviddle of Winter, that you would 
have believed them covered with wool like sheep. It is not 
without reason, therefore, that the ancient proverb says : GOD 
tempers the wind to the shorn lamb: and when I behold his pa^ 
ternal hand varying the fur of animals conformably to the de- 
gree of heat and cold, I can easily believe that it varies in like 
manner the mirrors of flowers conformably to the Sun. Flowers 
then may be divided with relation to the Sun into two classes ; 
Into reverberating flowers, and flowers in form of a parasol. 

If there be any constant character in plants we must look for 
it in the fruit. It is thitherward that Nature has directed all 
the parts of vegetation, as to the principal object. That saying 
of Wisdom itself, by their fruits ye shall know them^ is at least 
as applicable to plants as to the human species. 

We shall examine therefore the general characters of plants, 
with relation to the places where their seeds are accustomed to 
grow. As the animal kingdom is divided into three great 
classes, quadrupeds, volatiles, and aquatics, relatively to the 
three elements of the Globe ; we shail in like manner divide 



STUDY XL 83 

the vegetable kingdom into aerial or mountain-plants ; into 
aquatics, or those of the shores ; and into ten-estrial, or those of 
the plains. But as this last participates of the two others, we shall 
not dwell upon it ; for though I am persuaded that every spe- 
cies, nay that every variety may be referred to some particular 
site of the earth, and may grow there in its highest degree of 
beaut}^, it is sufficient to say as much of it here as may be ne- 
cessary to the prosperity of a small garden. When we shall 
have traced invariable characters in the two extremities of the 
vegetable kingdom, it will be easy to refer to the intermediate 
classes those which are adapted to them. We begin with the 
plants of the mountains. 

ELEMENTARY HARMONIES OF PLANTS WITH THE WATER AND 
THE AIR, BY MEANS OF THEIR LEAVES AND FRUITS. 

When the Author of Nature designed to clothe with vege- 
tables even the highest and steepest pinnacles of the Earth, He 
first adapted the chains of mountains to the basons of the seas 
which were to supply them with vapoiu-s ; to the course of the 
winds which were to waft them thither, and to the different as- 
pects of the sun by which tliey were to be heated. As soon as 
those harmonies were established between the elements, the 
clouds ascended out of the Ocean, and dispersed themselves 
over the most remote parts of the Continents. There they dis- 
tilled under a thousand different forms, in fogs, in mists, in 
dews, in rains, in snows. They descended from the heights of 
the Atmosphere in every possible variety of manner ; some in 
a tranquil air, such as our Spring showers, came down in per- 
pendicular drops as if they had been strained through a sieve ; 
others driven by the furious winds, beat horizontall)' on the sides 
of the mountains ; others fell in torrents, like those which for 
nine months of the year inundate the Island of Gorgona, placed 
in the heart of tlie Torrid Zone, in the burning Gulf of Pana- 
ma. There were some which accumulated themselves in moun- 
tains of snow, on the inaccessible summits of the Andes, to cool 
by their effusions the Continent of South-.\meric;:,and by their 
icy Atmosphere, the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. In a 
word, mighty rivers flowed over regions where t'.ie rain never 
descends, and the Nile watered the plains of Egypt. 



84 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

Then GOD said : " Let the Earth bring forth grass, the iierL 
" yielding seed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind, 
" whose seed is m itself upon the Earth," At the voice of the 
All-Mighty, the vegetables appeared with organs perfectly fit- 
ted to collect the blessings of Heaven. The elm arose on the 
mountains which skirt the Tanais, clothed with leaves in form 
of a tongue ; the tufted box started from the brow of the Alps ; 
and the prickly caper-tree from the rocks of Africa, with leaves 
hollowed into spoons. The pines of the sandy Norwegian hills 
attracted the vapours which were floating in the air, wuth their 
slim foliage disposed like a Painter's pencil ; the verbascum 
displayed it's broad leaves on the parched sand, and the fern 
presented on the hill it's fan-like foliage to the rainy and hori- 
zontal winds. A multitude of other plants, from the bosom of 
the rocks, from strata of flint, nay even from marble incrusta- 
tions, drunk in the waters of Heaven by cornets, by sandals, and 
by cruets. From the cedar of Lebanon down to the violet which 
perfumes the grove, there was not one but what presented it's 
large goblet, or it's tiny cup, conformably to it's necessity, or 
It's station. 

This adaptation of the leaves of plants in elevated situations, 
for receiving the descending distillations of the rain is varied 
without end ; but the character of it is discernible in most, not 
only in their concave forms, but likewise in a little canal, scoop- 
ed out on the pedicle by which they are attached to their 
branches. It has something of a resemlilance to that which 
Nature has traced on the upper lip of a Man, to receive the 
humours which descend from the brain. It is particularly per- 
ceptible on the leaves of artichokes, which being of th? nature 
of thistles, agree with dry and sandy situations. These have 
besides, collateral awnings to prevent the loss of any of the wa- 
ter that falls from Heaven. Plants which grow in places very 
hot and very parched, sometimes hp.ve their stems or their 
leaves transformed entirely into a canal. Such are the aloes of 
the island of Zocotara, in the mouth of the Red-Sea, or the 
prickly taper of the Torrid Zone. The aqueduct of the aloes is 
horizontal, and that of the taper perpendicular. 

What has prevented Botanists from remarking the relstions 
^vhich the leaves of plants have with tlie waters that feed and 



STUDY XI. 85 

refresh them, is their seeing them every where nearly of the 
same form, in the valleys, as on the heights ; but though moun- 
tain-plants present foliages of every kind of configuration, you 
may easily discern from their aggregation in form of pencils or 
fans, from the gathering of the leaves, or from equivalent signs, 
that they are destined to receive the rain water, but chiefly from 
the aqueduct which I have just mentioned. This aqueduct is 
traced on the pedicle of the smallest leaves of mountain-plants ; 
by means of it Nature has rendered the forms themselves of 
aquatic-plants susceptible of vegetation in the most parched 
situations. 

The bulrush, for example, which is only a round and full 
straw that grows by the water-side, did not appear susceptible 
of collecting any humidity in the air, though it is very well suit- 
ed to lofty situations, from it's capillaceous form, which like that 
of gramineous plants presents nothing to the wind to lay hold of. 

In fact, if you consider the different species of rush which 
clothe the mountains in many parts of the world, such as that 
called ic/io^ on the lofty mountains of Peru, the only vegetable 
almost that grows there, and those which thrive with ourselves 
in dry sands or on heights, you would at the first glance believe 
them similar to the rush of marshy places ; but with a little at- 
tention, and not without astonishment, you will observe that 
they are hollowed into a furrow the whole of their lengthwise 
direction. They are like other rushes convex on one side, but 
they differ from them essentially, in that they are all concave on 
the other ; I was enabled to distinguish by this same character 
the spartha, which is a rush of the mountains of Spain, and is 
now frequently manufactured at Paris into cordage for the if 
draw-wells. 

Many leaves even of the plants of the plains assume on theii 
first springing up this form of little furrow, or spoon, as those of 
the violet, and of most gramineous plants. You may perceive 
in the Spring, the young tufts of these raising themselves up- 
right toward Heaven, like paws, to catch the falling drops, es- 
pecially when it begins to rain ; but most plants of the plain lose 
their gutter as they expand. It has been bestowed on them onlv 
during the season when it was necessary to their growth. It is 
permanent only in the plants of the mountains. It is traced, as 
hafi been mentioned, on the pedicle of the leaves, and conducts 



86 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

the rain-water into the tree from the leaf to the branch : the 
branch, by the obliquity of it's position, conveys it to the trunk, 
from whence it descends- to the root, by a series of successive 
dispositions. If you pour water gently over the leaves of a 
mountain-shrub which are the farthest from it's stem, you will 
perceive it pursue the progress which I have just indicated, and 
not a single drop will be lost on the ground. 

I have had the curiosity to measure in some mountain-plants, 
the inclination which their branches form with their stem ; and 
I have foimd in at least a dozen different species, as in the fern, 
the thuia, and the like, an angle of about thirty degres. It is 
very remarkable, that this degree of incidence is the same with 
that which is formed in a flat country, by the course of many 
rivulets and smaller rivers, with the great rivers into which they 
discharge themselves, as may be ascertained by reference to 
maps. This degree of incidence appears to be the most favoura- 
ble to the eflux of many fluids, which direct themselves toward 
one single line. The same Wisdom has regulated the level of 
the branches in trees, and the course of the stream through the 
plains. 

This inclination undergoes some varieties in certain moun- 
tain-tuees. The cedar of Lebanon, for example, sends forth the 
lower part of it's branches in an upward direction toward Hea- 
ven, and lowers their extremities, by bending them downward 
to the Earth. They have the attitude of command which is 
suited to the King of vegetables, that of an arm raised up into 
the air, with the hand gently inclining. By means of the first 
disposition, the i-ain-water is conveyed along the sloping branch 
to the trunk ; and by the second, the snows in the regions of 
which it takes delight to dwell, slide away from off it's foliage. 
It's cones have in like manner two different attitudes ; for it i«- 
clines them at first toward the Earth, to shelter them at the sea- 
son of their flowering; but when the)' are fecundated, it erects 
them toward Heaven. The truth of these observations may be 
confirmed by referring to a young and beautiful cedar in the 
Royal Garden, which, though a stranger, has preserved in the 
midst of our climate the air of a King, and the majestic port of 
Lebanon. 

The bark of most mountain-trees is equally adapted for con- 
ducting the rain-water from the branches to the roots. That of 



STUDY XI. 87 

the pine is in large perpendicular ribs ; that of the ehn is cleft 
and chinked longitudinally ; that of the cypress is spongy like 
the coat of flax. 

The plants of mountains and of dry grounds have a farther 
character, which is in general peculiar to them : it is that of at- 
tracting the water which floats in the air in imperceptible va- 
pours. The parietaria (pellitory) which has derived it's name 
from the latin word pariete (wall), because it grows on the sides 
of walls, has it's leaves almost always in a humid state. This 
attraction is common to most trees of the mountains. Trav^el- 
lers unanimously assure us that there is in the mountains of 
the Island of Ferro, a tree which furnishes every day to that 
island a prodigious quantity of water. The islanders call it 
goj-oe^ and the Spaniards santo^ from its singular utility. They 
tell us it is always surrounded with a cloud which distils copi- 
ously along it's leaves, and fills with water the large reservoirs 
which are constructed at the root of this tree, affording an abun- 
dant supply for the island. • 

This effect is perhaps somewhat exaggerated, though related 
in nearly the same terms by persons of different Nations : but I 
give full credit to the general fact. The real case I take to be 
this : it is the mountain which attracts from afar the vapours of 
the Atmosphere, and that the tree, situated in the focus of attrac- 
tion, collects them around it. 

Having frequently spoken in the course of this Work of the 
'attraction of the summits of many mountains, the Reader per- 
haps will not be displeased if I present him, in this place, an 
idea of that branch of the hydraulic architecture of Nature. 
Among a great number of curious examples which I might pro- 
duce to this purpose, and which I have collected, as an addition 
to my materials on the subject of Geography, I beg leave to pre- 
sent one, which I have extracted not from a systematic Philoso- 
pher, but from a simple and unaffectedly sprightly traveller of 
the last age, who relates things as he saw them, and Avithout 
pretending to deduce consequences of any kind whatever. It is 
a description of the summits of the island of Bourbon, situated 
in the Indian Ocean, extending to the twenty first degree of 
South Latitude. I copy it from the writings of M. de Fillers^ 
who was then Governor of that island under the East India Com- 
pany. It was published in the Journals of the first voyages 



88 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

made by our French Navigators into Arabia Felix^ about the 
year 1/09, and given to the World by M. de la Roque, See that 
Work, page 201. 

" Of those plains," says M. de Villers, which are upon the 
mountains (of Bourbon), " the most remarkable, though no ac- 
" count has hitherto been given of it, is that to which they have 
" given the name of the Plain of the Cafres, from a tribe of 
" that People, slaves to the inhabitants of the Island, who went 
" thither to conceal themselves, after they had run away from 
" their masters. From the shore of the Sea you rise by a gentle 
" ascent for seven leagues together, in order to reach this plain 
" by the single path that leads to it, along the river of Saint Ste- 
" phen : it is possible however to ride up on horseback. The 
" soil is good and smooth to about a league and a half on this 
" side the plain, planted with large and beautiful trees the foli- 
" age of which, as it falls, serves for food to the tortoises, which 
" are to be found there in great numbers. 

" The height of this plain may be estimated at two leagues 
" above the Horizon ; it accordingly appears from below to be 
" quite lost in the clouds. It's circumference may be about four 
" or five leagues. The cold is there insupportable, and a con- 
" tinualfog^ -which wets as much as rai?!^ prevents your seeing 
" objects ten paces distant ; as it falls in the night, you may see 
" through it more clearly than by day : but then it freezes dread- 
" fully, and in the morning before sun-rise the plain is frozen all 
" over. 

" But what strikes the eye of the beholder as very extraordi- 
" nary, there are certain elevations of ground cut out almost in 
" form of round columns, and of a prodigious height ; for they 
" cannot be much lower than the turrets of Notre-Dame at Pa- 
" ris. They are put down like pins on the skittle-ground, and 
" the resemblance is so strong, that you may easily mistake on 
" reckoning them : they go by the name of pitojis (pins). If 
" you wish to stop by one of those eminences to take rest, such 
" of your company as are not inclined to repose, but want to go 
" forward, must not withdraw so far as two hundred paces, 
" otherwise they will be in great danger of not finding again the 
" point of separation, these pins are so many in number, all si- 
" milar in form, and so much arranged in the same manner, 
" that the Creoles who are natives there are themselves liable 
" to mistake. 



STUDY XI. 89 

*" For this reason it is, that in order to prevent the unpleasant 
•^'' consequences of such an error, when a company of travellers 
" take station at one of the pins, if they are disposed to make a 
" farther excursion, they leave a person at the place of rendez- 
" vous, to make a fire or raise a smoke which may serve to di- 
" rect and bring back the strayers ; and if the fog be so thick, 
" which is frequently the case, as to hinder the fire or the smoke 
" from being seen, they provide themselves with a kind of large 
" shells, one of which is left with him who keeps station at the 
*' pin ; another is carried off by the separating party ; and when 
" they wish to retium some one blows violently into the shell as 
" into a trumpet, which emits a very shrill sound, and is capa- 
" ble of being heard at a great distance ; this is answered by 
"• the other, and being repeated as often as is necessary, they 
" are easily recovered from straying, and collected at the point 
" of departure. Without such precautions the traveller might 
'' be bewildered. 

" In this plain arc many aspin-trces, and they ai-e always 
-" green. Other trees are covered with a moss of more than a 
*' fathom in length around their trunk and large branches. They 
" arc withered, without foliage, and so impregnated with mois- 
" tvu*e, that it is impossible to make them take fire. If with 
" much difficulty you are able to kindle some of the smaller 
" boughs, it is only a dark fire without flame, which emits a 
" reddish smoke that defiles the meat without roasting it. 
" You can hardly find a spot in this plain on which to kindle a 
" fire, unless by looking about for some small elevation round 
'•'• the peaks ; for the soil of the plain is so humid that the water 
" every where spouts out, so that you are continually in nmd, 
" and moistened up to the calf of the leg. Great numbers of 
*' blue birds are to be seen there nestling in the herbage, and 
"• among the aquatic ferns. This plain Avas unknown before the 
'* desertion of the Cafres. In order to get down you must re- 
" turn by the same way that you ascended, unless you choose 
" to run the risk of^ another path, which is very rough and dan- 
^*- gcRJusly steep. 

" Fiom the plain of the Cafres may be seen the mountain 
" known by the name of Trok Sctlases, from the three pointi of 
" that rock, the loftiest in the Island of Bourbon. All it's ri- 

Voi.. II. 31 



OO STUDIES OF NATURE. 

" vers issue from thence, and it is so steep on every side that 
" there is no possibility of cHmbing it. 

" There is besides in this island another plain, called the plain 
" of Silaos, higher than that of the Cafres, and of no greater 
" value ; it is extremely difficult to get up to it." 

In the lively description of our Traveller we must overlook 
some errors in Physics, such as his assigning to the Plain of the 
Cafres an elevation of two leagues above the Horizon. He had 
not learned from the barometer and thermometer that there is 
no such elevation on the face of the Globe, and that at the per- 
pendicular height of one league only, the freezing point is in- 
variable. But from the thick fog which surrounds those peaks, 
from that continual mist which wets as much as rain, and which 
falls during the night, it is evidently perceptible that they at- 
tract to them the vapours which the Sun raises out of the Sea 
in the day-time, and which disappear in the night. Hence is 
formed that sheet of water which inundates the Plain of the 
Cafres, and from which most of the brooks and rivulets that 
water the island take their rise. You may equally distinguish 
a vegetable attraction in those ever-green aspins, and those other 
trees at all times humid, which it is impossible to kindle into 
flame. 

The island of Bourbon is almost round, and rises out of the 
Sea in the shape of half an orange. On the highest part of this 
hemisphere are situated the Plains of Silaos and of the Cafres, 
where Nature has placed those labyrinths of peaks continually 
involved in fogs, planted like nine pins, and elevated like so 
many turrets. 

Did time and room permit, I could make it evident that there 
are a multitude of similar peaks on the chains of lofty moun- 
tains, of the Cordeliers, of Taurus and others, at the centre of 
most islands, without admitting the possibility of supposing, 
though the opinion be current, that they are the remains of a 
primitive Earth raised to that height ; for what must have be- 
come, as has been already demanded, of the wreck of that 
Earth, the pretended testimonies of which arise on every hand 
over the surface of the Globe ? I could demonstrate that they 
are placed in aggregations, and in situations adapted to the ne- 
cessities of the countries of which they are in some sense the 
reservoirs ; some in a labyrinth, as those of the Island of Bour- 



STUDY XI. 91 

bon, when they are on the summit of a hemisphere, from whence 
they are destined to distribute the waters of Heaven in every 
direction ; others in the form of a comb, when they are placed 
on the extended crest of a chain of mountains, as the pointed 
peaks of the chain of Taurus and of the Cordeliers ; others 
grouped into pairs, into threes, according to the configuration 
of the territory which they are to water. They are of so many 
forms, and of different constrnctions : some of them are incrus- 
•tations of earth, as those of the Plain of the Cafres, and of some 
of the Antilles Islands, and which are besides so steep as to be 
entirely inaccessible. Those incrustations of earth demonstrat© 
that they have at once fossil and hydraulic attractions. 

There are others which present long needles of solid and 
naked rock ; others are of a conical form ; others are flattened 
as a table, such as that of Table-mountain at the Cape of Good- 
Hope, where you may frequently see the clouds accumulate and 
spread like a table-cloth. Some are not apparent, but entirely 
involved in the side of mountains or in the bosom of plains. 
They are all distinguishable by the fogs which they attract 
around them, and by the sources which emit their streams in 
the vicinity. Nay you may rest assured that there is no source 
but in the neighbourhood of some quarry of hydro-attractive, 
and for the most part of metallic stone. I ascribe the attraction 
of those peaks to the vitreous and metallic bodies of which they 
are composed : and I am persuaded it might be possible to imi- 
tate this architecture of Nature, and to form by means of the 
attraction of such stones, fountains of water in the most parched 
situations. In general vitreous bodies and stones susceptible 
of polish are very proper for this purpose ; for it is observable 
that when water is diffused in gi-eat quantities throvigli the air, 
as at the time of a general thaw, it is first attracted, and attaches 
itself to the glass-windows and the polished stones of our houses. 

I have frequently seen on the summit of the mountains in the 
Isle of France, effects similar to those of the peaks of the Plain 
of the Cafres in the Island of Bourbon. The clouds collect there 
incessantly around their peaks, which are steep and pointed like 
pyramids. Some of those peaks terminate in a rock of a cubi- 
cal form, which crowns them like a chapiter. Such is that which 
they call Piterbooth^ after the name of a Dutch Admiral ; it is 
one gf the loftic<?t in the Island. 



9^ STUDIES OF NATURE; 

Those peaks are formed of solid rock, vitrifiable and mixed 
with copper : they are real electrical needles both in form and 
substance. The clouds perceptibly deviate from their course to 
collect upon them, and there accumulate sometimes to such a 
degree that the pinnacles become totally invisible. They thence 
descend into the cavity of the vallies, along the declivities of the 
forests, which likewise attract them, and there dissolve into rain, 
frequently forming rainbows on the verdure of the trees. This 
vegetable attraction of the forests of that island is in such per- 
fect harmony with the metallic attraction of the peaks of it's 
mountains, that a field situated in an open place in their vicini- 
ty very often suffers for want of rain, whereas it rains the whole 
year round in the woods, which are not above a gun-shot dis- 
tant. It was by the destruction of part of the trees that clothed 
the heights of the island that most of the. brooks which watered 
it have been dried up : and now nothing remains of them but 
the empty channel. 

To the same injudicious management I ascribe the sensible 
diminution of a considerable part of the rivers of Europe both 
great and small ; as is evident from a simple inspection of their 
ancient bed, which is much broader and deeper than the mass of 
water at this day transmitted by them to the Ocean. Nay I am 
persuaded that to this cause we must ascribe the dryness of the 
more elevated provinces of Asia, those of Persia in particu- 
lar, the mountains of which have no doubt been stripped of 
their trees by the first tribes who inhabited them. I am de- 
cidedly of opinion, that were we to plant in France mountain- 
loving trees on the high grounds, and at the sources of our riv- 
ers, their ancient volume of water might be restored, and many 
rivulets might be made to re-assume their current through our 
plains, though they have a long time since ceased to flow. It 
is neither among the reeds, nor in the depth of the valley that 
the Neiads conceal their exhaustless urns, as Painters represent 
them, but at the summit of rocks crowned witii wood, and tow^- 
ering to the Heavens. 

There is not a single vegetable, the leaf of which is disposed 
to receive the rain-water on the mountains, whose seed is not 
formed in a manner the best adapted to raise itself thither. 
The seeds of all mountain-plants are volatile. By inspecting 
th^ir leaves it is possible to ascertain the character of their 



I'l.vii: l\ 




STUDY XI. 93 

grams, and by inspecting the grains that of their leaves, and 
thence to infer the elementary character of the plant. By 
mountain-plants I here wish to be understood to mean all those 
which grow in sandy and parched situations, on hillocks, in 
rocks, on steep ridges by the highway's side, in walls, and, iu 
one word, at a distance from water. 

The seeds of thistles, of blue-bottles, of dandelion, of succo- 
ry, and many others, are furnished with pinions, with plumes, 
with tufts, and various other means of rising, which convey 
them to prodigious distances. Those of the grasses, which 
likewise travel very far, are provided with a light chaffy coat, 
and with bearded husks. Others, such as those of the yellow 
gilly-flower, are cut into thin scales, and fly by the slightest 
breath of the wind, and plant themselves in the most inconsi- 
derable crevice of a wall. The seeds of the largest mountain- 
trees are no less volatile. That of the maple has two membra- 
nous pinions similar to the wings of a fly. That of tlie elm is 
ca'ied in the midst of an oval thin leaf. Those of the cypress 
are almost imperceptible. Those of the cedar are terminated 
by broad and thin plates, which in their aggregated state com- 
pose a cone. The grains are in the centre of the cone ; and 
when arrived at maturity, the thin membranes to \^hich they 
adhere separate from each other like the cards in a pack, and 
each of them flies off with it's own little kernel. (See the an- 
nexed plat eS) 

The seeds of mountain-plants which appear too heavy for 
flying, arc furnished with other resources. The pease of the 
balsamine have pods whose elasticity darts them to a consider- 
able distance. There is likewise a tree in India,* die name of 
which I do not now recollect, that in like manner discharges 
it's seeds with a noise like thafof a musket fired off. Those 
which have neither tufts, nor pinions, nor springs, and v.'lilch 
from their weight seem condemned to remain at the foot of the 
vegetable which produced them, arc in veiy inany cases those 
which travel the farthest. They, fly off with the wings of a 
bird. It is thus that a multitude of hen ies and shell-fruits re- 
sow themselves. Their seeds are Inclosed in stony incrusta- 

• I presume llie author here alludes to the fiuva crfpitcms of the We&t-In- 
tlics, a U'ce there called sand-box. — B. S. B. 



94 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

tions not capable of being digested. They are swallowed by 
the birds, who carry them off and plant them in the cornices of 
towers, in the clefts of rocks, on the trunks of trees, beyond ri- 
vers, nay beyond oceans. By such means it was that a bird of 
the Moluccas re-peopled with the nutmeg plant, the desert 
islands of that archipelago, in defiance of all the efforts of the 
Dutch, M'ho destroy those trees in every place where they Can- 
not be subsei-vient to their own commerce. 

This is not the place for bringing forward the relations which 
vegetables have no animals. It is sufficient to observe as we 
go along that most birds resow the vegetable which feeds them. 
Nay we find, without going from home, quadrupeds which con- 
v^ey to a great distance the seeds of the grasses. Such among 
others as do not chew the cud, horses for instance, whose dug 
is hurtful to the meadows, for an obvious reason, they introduce 
into them a variety of foreign herbs, as the heath and the short 
furze, the seeds of which they are unable to digest. They re- 
sow, besides, a great many others, which adhere to their hair, 
by the motion of their tail simply. There are quadrupeds of 
small size, such as the dormouse, the hedge-hog, and the mar- 
mot, which convey to the most elevated regions of the moun- 
tains, acorns, beech-mast, and chesnuts. 

It is singularly worthy of remark that volatile seeds are pro- 
duced in much greater number than those of other species ; and 
I'n this we are called upon to admire the intelligence of that 
Providence which foresaw every thing, and arranged all accord- 
ingly. The elevated situations for which they are destined, 
were exposed to be speedily stripped of their vegetables, by 
the declivity of their soil, and by the rains, which have a con- 
tinual tendency to lower them. By means of the volatility of 
grains, they are become of all the places of the Earth the most 
prolific in phmts. In the mountains is deposited the Botanist's 
treasure. 

It cannot be too frequently repeated, The remedies provided 
by Nature always surmount the obstacles which she has oppo- 
sed ; and her compensations ever exceed her gifts. In truth, 
if you except the inconveniences of declivity, a mountain pre- 
sents to plants the greatest variety of exposures. In a plain 
they have the same Sun, the same degree of humidity, the same 
soil, the hame wind ; but if you ascend a mountain, situated in 



STUDY XI. 95 

our Latitude only twenty-five fathoms of pcrpendiculai- height, 
you change your cUmate as much as if you travelled twenty-five 
leagues northward ; so that a mountain of twelve hundred fa- 
thoms perpendicular height, would present us with a scale of 
vegetation as extensive as that of twelve hundred leagues along 
the Horizon, which is nearly our distance from the Pole : both 
the one and the other would terminate in a region of perpetual 
ice. Every step we take upon a mountain, whether ascending 
or descending, gives us a change of Latitude ; aud if we en- 
compass it round and round, every step changes our Longitude. 
We shall fall in with points where the Sun rises at eight o'clock 
in the morning ; others at ten o'clock ; others at noon. We 
should find an infinite variety of exposures ; of cold toward the 
North, of heat to the South, of rain to the West, of drought to 
the East ; without taking into the account the different reflec- 
tions of heat in sands, rocks, bottoms of vallies, and lakes, which 
modify them a thousand various ways. 

We must proceed farther to observe ; and who can do it 
without profound admiration? that the season of the ma- 
turity of most volatile seeds takes place toward the commence- 
ment of Autumn ; and that from an effect of the universal In- 
telligence, which constrains all the parts of nature to act in con- 
cert. Then it is that we have the most violent gales of wind, 
about the end of September or beginning of October, called the 
equinoctial winds. These winds blow in all parts of tlie Conti- 
nents, from the bosom of the seas to the mountains which arc 
in correspondence with them. Not only do they convey thither 
the volatile grains which have then attained to a state of matu- 
rity, but likewise blend with these thick clouds of dust, which 
they carry off from lands dried up by the bui-ning heats of Sum- 
mer, and particularly from the shores of the Sea, where the in- 
cessant motion of the billows, which there break, and continu- 
ally toss the pebbly strand backward and forward, reduce the 
hardest bodies to an impalpable powder. 

Those emanations of dust are in many places so copious, that 
I could produce a variety of instances of vessels covered with 
them, as they were crossing gulfs, though more than six leagues 
distant from land. They are so troublesome in the loftier pro- 
vinces of Asia, that all travellers who have visited Pekin assure 
us it is impossible to walk the streets of that city, for a considc--' 



96 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

rable part of the year, without having the fate veiled. Thus 
there are rains of dust which repair the summits of the moun- 
tains, as there are rains of water which feed their sources. 
Both the one and the other issue from the Sea, and return to it 
by the course of the rivers, which are perpetually conveying thi- 
ther their constant tribute of waters and sands. The maritime 
winds unite their efforts toward the autumnal equinox, trans- 
port from the circumference -of the Continents, to mountains 
the most remote from them, the seeds and the manure which 
had flowed from thence, and sow meadows, groves, and forests 
on the sides of precipices, and on the most inaccessible peaks. 
Thus the leaves, the stems, the seeds, the birds, the seasons, the 
seas, and the winds, concur in a wonderful manner to keep up 
the vegetation of the mountains. 

I have been mentioning the relations of plants to mountains ; 
I am mortified that it is not in my power here to insert the re- 
lations which mountains themselves have with plants, according 
to my original intention. All that I can at present say on this 
subject is, that so far are mountains from being the productions 
of a centrifugal force, or of fire, or of earthquakes, or of water 
courses, I know of at least ten different species, each of which 
has a configuration the most perfectij' adapted for keeping up 
in every particular Latitude the harmony of the elements rela- 
tively to vegetation. Each of them has moreover vegetables and 
quadrupeds peculiar to itself, and which are not' else where to be 
found. This proves to a demonstration that they are not the 
work of chance. Finally, among that inconceivable number of 
mountains which cover the greatest part of the five Zones, and 
especially the Torrid and the Icy Zones, there is but one single 
species, the least considerable of all, which presents to the water 
cou^-s&s projecting and retreating angles in correspondence. 
This however is no more their work than the bason of the seas 
is itself the work of the Ocean. But this interesting subject, of 
:ui extent too considerable to admit of it's being here introduced, 
belongs, besides, to the province of Geograph}*. 

Let us now proceed to display the harmony of aquatic plants. 

I'hese have dispositions entirely different in their leaves, the 
bearing of their branches, and above all in the configuration of 
their seeds. Nature, as has already been observed, in order to 
vary her harmonics, only employs in very many cases positive 



STUDY XL 97 

and negative characters. She has bestowed an aqueduct on the 
pedicle of the leaves of mountain-plants ; she withdraws it from 
those which grow by the side of the waters, and transforms them 
into aquatic plants. These, instead of having their leaves hol- 
lowed out into gutters, are cloathed with leaves smooth and 
sleek, such as the corn flag, which bears them in form of a poig- 
nard's blade, or swelling in the middle like a sword-blade, as 
those of the species of reed called typha, that common sort, the 
stem of which the Jews put into the hand of Jesus Christ. 
Those of the nymphje or plane, and rounded in form of a heart. 
Some of these species affect their forms, but their long tails are 
uniformly destitute of a canal. Those of the bulrush are round 
like a pipe. There is an endless variety of rushes on the brink 
of morasses, rivulets, and fountains. You will find them of all 
sizes, from those which have the fineness of a hair up to the spe- 
cies which grow in the river of Genoa as large as a cane 
Whatever difference there maybe in the jointing of tlieir stalks 
and of their panicles, they all have in their plan a round or elip- 
tical form. You will find those species alone which grow in 
parched situations to be fluted and hollowed on their surface. 
When nature intends to render aquatic plants susceptible of ve- 
getation on the mountains, she bestows aqueducts on their 
leaves ; but when on the contrary she means to place mountain- 
plants by the water's-side, she withdraws it. The aloes of the 
rock has it's leaves hollowed into a scoop ; the aloes of the wa- 
ter has them full. I am acquainted with a dozen species of 
mountain-fern, every one of which has a small fluting along it's 
branches, and the only species of the marshes which I know 
wants it. The bearing of it's branches is likewise very different 
from that of the others. The first rears them toward Heaven 
the last bears them almost horizontally. 

If the leaves of mountain plants are constructed in the best 
manner possible for collecting at their roots the waters of Hea- 
ven, which they have not always at command ; those of aquatic 
plants are frequently disposed in such a manner as to remove 
them, because they are destined to grow in the bosom of water, 
or in it's vicinity. The leaves of trees which love the water's 
side, as the birch, the aspin, and the poplar, are attached to long 
and pendant tails. There are others which bear their leaves 
^lisposed in form of tiles, as the great chesnnt of India and the 

Vol. II. N 



98 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

walnut. Those of plants which grow in the shade, around the 
trunk of trees, and which derive by their roots the humidity col- 
lected bv the foliage of the tree, as the french-bean and the con- 
volvulus, have a similar bearing. But those which grow entire- 
ly under the shade of trees, and which have scarcely any roots, 
as mushrooms, have leaves that so far from pointing toward 
Heaven are turned downward to the earth. The greatest part 
are formed on the upper side into a thick parasol, to prevent the 
Sun from drinking up the moisture of the soil in which they 
grow ; and they are divided on the under side into thin leafy 
plates, for receiving the vapors which exhale from the ground, 
nearly as those of the horizontal wheel of a fire-engine receives 
the steam of the boiling water which makes it to turn about. 
They have besides several other means of watering themselves 
by these exhalations. There are many numerous species lined 
with tubes, others are stufted with sponges. There are some 
whose pedicle is hollow inwardly, and Avhich bearing a chapter 
a-top, there collect the emanations of their soil as in an alembic. 
Thus there is not a particle of vapour in the Universe that goes 
to waste, 

What has just now been said of the inverted forms of mush- 
rooms, of their leafy plates, of the tubes and sponges with which 
they are lined, for receiving the vapours exhaled from the 
ground, confirms what was advanced respecting the use of the 
leaves of mountain-plants hollowed into gutters, or constructed 
into the form of a pencil, or of a fan, for receiving the waters 
pf Heaven, But aquatic plants which had no need of such re- 
cipients, because they thrive in water, have, if I may so express 
myself, a repulsive foliage. I shall here present an object of 
comparison, calculated to produce conviction of the truth of 
those principles : for example, the mountain-box-tree and the 
caper-plant of the rocks, have their leaves hollowed into a spoon 
form, v/ith the concavity turned toward Heaven ; but the vac- 
cinium of the marshes, (cranberry) or vaccinia pcdnstris^ which 
is likewise furnished with concave leaves, bears them inverted, 
with the cavity turned toward the earth. From this negative 
character, I was enabled to distinguish, as a plant of the marshes, 
a very rare plant in the Royal Garden, which I sav/ for the first 
time. It is the ledum palustre^ which grows in the marshes oi 
the Labrador country. It's leaves, formed like little coffee- 



STUDY XI. 99 

spoons, arc all inverted ; their convex side beifig turned toward 
Heaven. The water-lentil of our marshes, as well as the typha 
of our rivers, has the middle of it's leaf swelled. 

Botanists, on observing leaves nearly similar to plants on the 
brink of the water, and on the heights of mountains, never en- 
tertained a suspicion that they could answer purposes so differ- 
ent. Many of them no doubt are persons of profound erudition j 
but their learning is rendered entirely useless to them, because 
their method constrains them to proceed in one single track, and 
their system indicates to them only one kind of observations* 
This is the reason that their most numerous collections frequent- 
ly present nothing but a mere vocabulary. The Study of Na- 
ture is spirit and intelligence simply. Her vegetable order is 
an immense volume, of which plants form the thoughts, and the 
leaves of those very plants the letters. Nay there is not a very 
great number of primitive forms in the characters of this alpha- 
bet : but by means of their A^arious assemblages she forms, as 
we do with ours, an infinite number of different thoughts. A3 
it is with language, in order totally to alter the meaning of an 
expression, all that she has in many cases to do is to change an 
accent* She places rushes, reeds, arums with a sleek foliage 
and a full pedicle, on tlie banks of rivers : she traces an aque- 
duct in the leaf, and transforms them into rushes, reeds, and 
arums of the mountains. 

We must at the same time be carefully on our guard against 
generalizing those means ; otherwise they will quickly betray 
us into a misapprehension of her procedure. For example, cer- 
tain Botanists having sitspected that the leaves of some plants 
might very well be adapted for collecting the rain water, be- 
lieved that they had a perception of this use in that of the dip- 
sacus^ or fullers^thistle. It was veiy easy to fall into a mistake 
here, for the leaves are opposite, and meet at their bases ; so 
that after it has rained they present reservoirs, which contaii> 
one with another a good half-glass of water, and which are dis- 
posed in stories along it's stem. But they ought to have con- 
sidered, first, that the dipsaciis gi-ows naturally on the brink of 
waters, and that Nature does not bestow cisterns of water on 
aquatic plants. This would be, according to tlie proverb, to 
carry water to the river. Secondly, they might have observed 
that the tiers formed by the opposite leaves of the dipsacus, so 



100 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

far from being reservoirs, are on the contrary discharges, which 
convey off the rain water from it's roots, to the distance of nine 
or ten inches on every side by the extremities of it's leaves* 
They resemble, in some respects, the gutters which project from 
the roofs of our houses, or those which are formed by the corners 
of our hats, which serve to carry away the rain water from the 
body and not to throw it inward. Besides, the water which re- 
mains in the cavity of the leaves of the dipsacus never can get 
down to the root of the plant, for it is detained there as at the 
bottom of a vase. It would not even be proper for moistening 
it, for Plbiy insists that it is brackish. The birch-wort which 
grows in the trembling and frothy marshes of Canada, carries 
at it's base two leaves, formed like the halves of a trumpet saw- 
ed asunder lengthwise. They are both concave, but have at the 
extremity that is farthest from the plant a kind of bill shaped 
like a spout. The water which remains in the receivers of these 
aquatic plants, is perhaps destined to supply drink to the small 
birds, which sometimes find themselves not a little embarrassed 
how to come at it in the time of inundations. 

It is necessary carefully to make a distinction between the 
elementarj' and the relative characters of plants. Nature obliges 
the man who studies her not to hold to external appearances, 
and in order to form his understanding, she makes him rise 
from the means which she employs to the ends which she pro- 
poses. If certain aquatic plants seem to present in their foliage 
some of the characters of mountaineers, there are upon the 
mountains some which seem to present characters similar to 
those of the waters ; such, for example, is the broom. It bears 
leaves so small and so few in number, that they appear insuffi- 
cient for collecting the water necessary to it's growth, and so 
much the more that it thrives in soils the most parched. Nature 
has indemnified it in another manner. If it's leaves are small 
it's roots are very long. They go in quest of coolness to a great 
distance. I have seen some of them extracted from the earth, 
which were more than twenty feet in length, and it was neces- 
sary after all to break them off, it being impossible to reach the 
extremities. This prevents not the scanty leaves from exhibit- 
ing the mountain-character ; for they are concave, they point 
toward Heaven, aiul are lengthened out like the under bill of a 
bird. 



STUDY XI. 101 

The greatest part of aquatic vegetables throw the water off 
from them, some by their port ; such as the birch, the branches 
of which, so far from rearing themselves toward Heaven, fall 
downward in form of an arch* The same thing may be affirm- 
ed of the great chesnut and of the walnut, unless these trees 
should have changed their natural attitude by growing in thirs- 
ty situations. Their bark is usually sleek, as that of the birch, 
or scaly like that of the chesnut ; but not hollowed into canals, 
as that of the elm or the mountain pine. Others have in them- 
selves a repulsive quality : such are the leaves of the nyraphaea, 
and of several species of colewort, on which the drops of water 
collect into globules like the particles of quicksilver. Nay- 
there are some which it is extremely difficult to moisten, such 
as the stems of many species of capillary plants. The lawel, 
we are told, carries it's repulsive quality to such a degree as to 
repel the thunder. If this quality, so highly extolled by the 
Ancients, is really possessed by the laurel, we must undoubt- 
edly ascribe this to it's nature as a fluviatic plant. The laurel 
grows in abundance on the banks of the rivers of Thessaly. A 
traveller, whose name is the S'ieur dt la Gtiilleture^* says, in a 
relation written in a very lively and agreeable manner, that he 
never saw any where such fine laurels as along the side of the 
river Peneus. Hence perhaps was suggested the idea of die 
metamorphosis of Daphne, the daughter of that river-deit\-, 
transformed by Apollo into a laurel. 

This repulsive property of certain trees, and of some aquatic 
plants, induces me to think that they might be employed around 
our habitations, as a security against thunder-storms, and that 
in a manner more certain, and much more ag;i-ceable than elec- 
trical conductors, which dissipate only by attracting them to the 
neighbourhood. [ They might farther be very advantageously 
employed for drymg marshy grounds ; as the attractive quali- 

* See the Voyage to Laccdcmon, by the Sicur dn la UuilUtitrc. 

I I am really inclined to the opinion, that there is a great difference in 
dUlcrent trees, in regard to iJieir j)ower of attracting- and coiulueiing tlu> 
electrical fluid: and hence, during thunder-storms, our houses and persons 
arc more secure with one than uith another species of U'ce in tlic immediatr 
vicinity. On tliis subject, curious if not important, I composed a memoir 
scvrral years ago, and long be fore I had read any part of the Studies of Saint- 
rierre I hnrc found, that the blact-wulnut, (Juq-lans w[^ra,) the common 



102 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

ties of many mountain-vegetables might be used in forming 
fountains upon heights, by collecting there the vapours which 
float in the air. There is not perhaps an infectious morass on 
the Globe, except in places where men have injudiciously de- 
stroyed the plants whose roots absorbed the humidity of thft 
Earth, and whose foliage repelled that of the Heavens. 

I pretend not to affirm however that the foliage of aquatic 
plants has no farther uses : for where is the man who has en- 
tered into the endless views of Nature ? " To whom hath the 
" root of wisdom been revealed ? or who hath known her wise 
counsels ?" Radix sapientice cm revelata est f et astutias illius 
quis agnovit ? % In general, the leaves of aquatic plants appear, 
from their extreme mobility, very much adapted to the purpose 
of renewing the air of humid places, and of producing by their 
movements, that drying of the ground to which I have just al- 
luded. Such are those of reeds, of poplars, of aspins, of birches, 
and even of willows, which are sometimes in motion though 
there is not the slightest degree of wind perceptible. 

It is farther remarkable that most of these vegetables emit a 
very pleasing smell ; among others, the poplar and the birch, 
especially in the Spring : and that a great number of aromatic! 
plants thrive by the water*s-side, as mint, sweet marjoram, ci* 
perus, the sweet-smelling rush, the iris, the calamus afomaticus .' 
and in the Indies, the spice plants, such as the cinnamon-trecj 
the nutmeg, and the clove. Their perfumes must contribute 
very powerfully to diminish the mephitic exhalations which are 
natural to marshy and humid places. They have likewise many 
uses relatively to animals, such as affording a shade to the fishes 
which resort thither in quest of a shelter from the scorching heat 
of the Sun. 

But one conclusion we may certainly deduce in favour of our 
improvements in culture from the observations now made ; 
namely this. That in the cultivation of plants, the pedicle of 

American chesnut, (castania americana,') the tulip-tree, {Ui-iodendron tulipi- 
/era,) and some others, are much more frequently struck, and shattered to 
pieces, by the lightning', than the common tupelo, (riyssa integrifoUa,) the 
beech, (^fagus ferruginea,) the occidental plane -tree, {platanus occidentalis,) 
&c. It is asseiled that the tupelo is never injured by the lightning'.— I design 
to publish my memoirs on this subject. — B. S. B. 

^ £cclesiasticu6> chap. i. vcr. 6 



STUDY XI. 103 

whose leaves presents no impress of a canal, it is necessary to 
water them copiously ; for in this case they are naturally aqua- 
tic. The nasturtium, the mint, and the sweet-marjoram, con- 
sume a prodigious quantity. But when plants are provided with 
a canal, they must be watered more sparingly, for this demon- 
strates them to be originally natives of the mountains. The 
deeper this canal is the less artificial watering do they require. 
Every gardener knows that if you frequently water the aloes, or 
the taper of Peru, you kill them. 

The seeds of aquatic plants have forms not less adapted than 
those of their leaves to the places where they are destined to 
grow ; they are all constructed in a manner the most proper for 
sailing off. Some of them are fashioned into the figure of shells, 
others into boats, rafts, skiffs, single and double canoes, similar 
to those of the South-Seas. I can have no doubt that by an at- 
tentive study of this part alone, a great number of very curious 
discoveries might be made, respecting the art of crossing cur- 
rents of every sort ; and I am persuaded that the first men, who 
were much better observers than we are, copied their different 
methods of travelling by water after those models of Nature, of 
which we with all our pretensions to discovery are but feeble 
imitators. 

The aquatic or maiitime pine has it's kernels inclosed in a 
kind of little bony shoes, notched on the under side, and cover- 
ed over on the upper with a piece resembling a ship's hatch. 
The walnut, which delights so much in the banks of rivers, has 
It's fruit contained in two little boats whose apertures are per- 
fectly fitted to each other. The hasel, which becomes so bushy 
on the brink of rivulets ; and the olive, which is enamoured of 
the sea-shore to such a degree that it degenerates in proportion 
as you remove it thence, carry their seed inclosed in a species of 
little casks capable of holding out the longest voyages. The red 
berry of the yew, whose favourite residence is the cold and hu- 
mid mountain by the side of a lake, is hollowed into a little bell. 
This berry on dropping from the tree, is at first carried down 
by it's fall to the bottom of the water : but it returns instantl}- 
to the surface, by means of a hole which Nature has contrived, 
in form of a navel, above the seed. In this aperture is lodged 
a bubble of air, which brings it back to the surface of the water, 
by a mechanism more ingenious than tliat of the divcr's-bell lyi 



104 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

this, that the vacuum of the diving-bell is undermost, and in the 
berry of the yew it is uppermost. 

The forms of the seeds of aquatic-plants are still more curi- 
ous ; for universally, Nature redoubles her skill and exertions 
in favour of the little and the weak. That of the bulrush re- 
sembles a lobster's eggs ; that of fennel is a real canoe in minia- 
ture, hollowed in the middle, with both ends raised into a prow. 
There are others grooved into each other, resembling pieces of 
wood disposed for a float and worm-eaten ; such are those of the 
horned poppy. Those which are destined to thrive on the brink 
of waters destitute of current are wafted by sails ; such is the 
seed of a scabious plant of our own country which grows on the 
border of morasses. Besides the difference of this from the 
other species of scabious, whose seeds are crowned with prong- 
ed hairs, in order to fasten themselves on the hairs of the ani- 
mals which transplant them, the one last-mentioned is overtop- 
ped by a half bladder, open and resting on it's summit like a 
gondola. The half-bladder serves it at once as a sail by water, 
and as a vehicle by land. These means of natation, though end- 
lessly varied, are common in all climates to the grains of aqua- 
tic plants. 

The almond of the river of the Amazons, known by the name 
of totoca^ is inclosed in two shells, exactly similar to those of an 
oyster. Another fruit on the strand of the same river, which 
abounds in almond-trees, has a perfect resemblance in colour 
and form to an earthern pot, with it's little lid ;* it goes by the 
name of the monkey's porridge-pot. Others are formed into 
large bottles as the fruit of the great gourd. There are seeds 
incrusted in a coat of wax, which makes them float, such are the 
berries of the wax-tree, or royal pimenta of the shores of Lou- 
isiana. The formidable apple of the mancenilla, which grows 
on the sea-shore of the islands situated between the Tropics, and 
the fruit of the manglier, which grows there actually in the salt 
water, are almost ligneous. There are others with shells simi- 
lar to the sea-urchin, without prickles. Many are coupled and 
perform their voyage like the double canoe, or balse, of the 
Soutli-Sea. Such is the double cocoa of the Sechelles islands. 

* See cngraving-s of most of those seeds, in John de Lacfs I/istory of the 

■\Vest-InfIics. 



I'UVTE V. 



iiEAVEa ^Vl'niorr an AQJiEarrcT and i^^Ai-nrAx, 

I-EFITS OFTIEOETABJ.KS OF THE SHOHil . 




STUDY XI. 105 

If you examine the leaves, the stems, the attitudes, and the 
seeds of aquatic plants, you will always remark in them charac- 
ters relative to the places where they are destined to grow, and 
in harmony with each other ; so that if the seed has a nautical 
form, it's leaves are deprived of an aqueduct ; just as in moun- 
tain-plants, if the grain is volatile, the pedicle of the leaf, or the 
leaf altogether, presents a channel. 

I shall assume, as an instance of the nautical Tiarmonies of 
plants, the nasturtium, with which every one is acquainted. This 
plant, which bears flowers so agreeable, is one of the cresses of 
the rivulets of Peru. It must be observed first, that the foot- 
stalks of it's leaves have no conduit, like those of all aquatic 
plants ; they are inserted in the middle of the leaf, which they 
support like an umbrella, to ward off from them the water which 
falls from Heaven. It's seed when fresh has exactly the form 
of a boat. The upper part is raised into a slope like a bridge 
to let the water run off ; and you distinguish perfectly in the 
lower part a poop and a prow, a keel and a bottom. {See the an- 
nexed plate ^ The little furrows of the seed of the nasturtium 
are characters common to most nautical grains, as well as the 
triangular forms, and those of the kidney or keel. Those fur- 
rows undoubtedly prevent them from rolling about in all direc- 
tions, constrain them to floating along lengthwise, and give 
them the direction the best adapted to the track of the water, 
and to the passage of the narrowest straits. But they have a 
character still more general ; it is this, that they swim in their 
state of maturity, which is not the case with grains destined 
to grow in the plains, such as pease and lentils, which sink to 
the bottom. 

Some species of these nevertheless, such as the french-bean, 
sink at first to the bottom, and rise to the surface when penetra- 
ted with the water. Others, on the contrarj-, float at first and 
sink afterward. Such is the Egj'ptian bean, or the seed of the 
colochasia, which grows in the waters of the Nile. In order to 
sow it you are under the necessity of rolling it up in a ball of 
earth, and in that state it is thrown into the water. Without 
this precaution not one would remain on the shores where you 
would wish it to grow. The natabilit}' of aquatic seeds is un- 
doubtedly proportioned to the length of the voyages which they 
have to perform, and to the different gravity of the waters in 

Vol. II. O 



106 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

which they are destined to swim. There arc some which float 
in sea-water and sink in fresh, which is Ughter than sea-water 
by one thirty-second part : such precision is in the balancing of 
Nature ! I believe that the fruit of the great India chesnut, 
which thrives on the shores of the salt creeks of Virginia, are 
in this situation. In a word, I am so entirely convinced of all 
the relations which Nature has established among her Works, 
as to conclude, that the time when the seeds of aquatic plants 
drop, is regulated in most cases by that of the overflowing of the 
rivers v/here they grow. 

It is a speculation well worthy of the attention of the philoso^ 
phic mind, to trace those vegetable fleets sailing along night and 
day with the current of the rivulets, and arriving, undirected by 
any pilot, on unknown regions. Ihere are some which, by the 
overflowing of the waters, now and then lose themselves in the 
plains. I have seen them sometim.es accumulated upon each 
other in the bed of toiTcnts, presenting around the pebbles 
where they had germinated, waves of verdure of the most beau-! 
tiful sea-green. You would have thought that Flora^ pursued 
by some River-god, had dropped her basket in the lUTi of the 
deit)^ Others more fortunate, issuing from the sources of some 
stream, are caught by the current of the greater rivers, and con- 
veyed away to embellish their distant banks with a verdure not 
their own. 

There are some which cross the vast Ocean ; and after a 
long navigation are driven by the very tempests on the regions 
which they adorn and enrich. Such are the double cocoas of 
the Sechelles or Mahe Islands, which the Sea carries regularly 
every year a distance of four hundred leagues, and lands them 
on the coast of Malabar. The Indians who inhabit it were long 
under the persuasion, that those annual presents of the Ocean 
must have been the produce of paim-trees that grow under it's 
billows. They gave them the name of marine cocoa-nuts ; and 
ascribed wonderful virtues to them. They set as high a value 
upon them as upon ambergris j and to such a pitch was this ex- 
travagance carried, that many of those fruits have been sold as 
high as a thousand crowns a-piece. But the French having 
some years ago discovered the Island of Mahe, which produces 
them, and which is situated in the fiftieth degree of South-La- 
titude, imported them in such quantities to India, that they 



STUDY XI. 107 

iunk at once in value and in reputation ; for men in every 
country prize those things only which are rare and mysterious. 

In every island where the eye of the traveller has been able 
to contemplate the primordial dispositions of Nature, he has 
found their shores covered with vegetables, all the fruits of 
which possess nautical characters. James Carter and Champlam 
represent the strands of the lakes of North-America as shaded 
by stately walnut-trees. Horner^ who has so attentively studied 
Nature, at times when, and in places where, she still retained 
her virgin beauty, has planted the wild-olive along the shores 
of the island on which Ulysses floating upon a raft, is thrown 
by the tempest. The navigators who have made the first dis- 
coveries in the seas of the East-Indies, frequently found in 
them shallows planted with cocoa-trees. The Sea throws such 
quantities of fennel-seed on the shores of Madeira, that one of 
it's bays has obtained the name of Funchal, or Fennel-Bay. 

It was by the course of those nautical seeds, too carelessly 
observed by modern Seamen, that the Savages formerly disco- 
vered the islands to windward of the countries which they in- 
habited. They formed conjectures respecting a tree at a great 
distance, on seeing it's fruit cast upon their shores. By similar 
indications Christopher Columbus acquired the assurance that 
another world existed. But the regular winds and currents 
from the East, in the South-Sea, had carried them long before 
to the Nations of Asia ; of which I shall say something toward 
the end of this Study- 
There are besides vegetables of an amphibious nature. They 
arc disposed in such a manner, that one part of their foliage 
raises itself toward Heaven, and the other forms an arcade and 
bends downward to the ground. Nature has given to their 
seeds likewise the power of at once flying and swimming. Such 
is the willow, the seed of which is enveloped in a cobweb down, 
which the winds transport to a great distance, and which floats 
along the surface of the vrater without wetting itself, like the 
downy feathers of the duck* This down is composed of small 
capsules like the bottom of a lamp, and with two beaks filled with 
seeds, which are covered with a plume : so that the wind con- 
veys those capsules through the air, and likewise transports 
them by sailing along the fiice of the ^\ ater. This configura- 
tion w:iR ;ulniii-:i!)]v adapted to be the vehicles of tJic seeds of 



108 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

plants which grow by the side of stagnant waters and lakes^ 
The same thing holds as to the seeds of the poplar ; but those 
of the alder which grows on the banks of rivers have no plu- 
mage, because the current of the stream is designed to convey 
them from place to place. 

The seeds of the fir and of the birch have at once volatile and 
nautical characters ; for the fir has it's kernel attached to a 
membranous wing ; and the birch has it's grain embraced by two 
wings, which give it the appearance of a little shell. These 
trees grow at once on the wintry mountains and on the margin of 
the lakes of the North ; their seeds had occasion not only to sail 
over stagnant waters, but to be transported through the air over 
the snows, in the midst of which they take delight. I have no 
doubt that there may be species of these trees the seeds of which 
are altogether nautical. Those of the linden-tree are carried in 
a spherical body similar to a little bullet. This bullet is affixed 
to a long tail, from the extremity of which descends obliquely 
a follicle of considerable length, whereby the wind carries it 
away to a great distance, spinning it round and round. When 
it drops into the water it plunges about the length of an inch* 
and serves in some sort as ballast to it's tail, and to the little 
leaf attached to it, which being thus brought to a vertical situa- 
tion, perform the functions of a mast and a sail. But the ex- 
amination of so many curious varieties would carrj'^ me too far. 

This would be the proper place to speak of the roots of ve- 
getables ; but I am little acquainted with what passes under 
ground. Besides in all Latitudes, on heights as well as by the 
water's side, we find the same substances nearly, muds, sands, 
pure mould, rock, which must produce, a much greater resem- 
blance in the roots of plants than in the other parts of their ve- 
getation* I have no doubt however that Nature has establish- 
ed on this subject relations, the knowledge of which would be 
highly useful, and that a cultivator somewhat experienced might 
be able, by inspecting the root of a vegetable, to determine the 
species of soil best adapted to it. Those which are very hairy 
seem most proper for sandy grounds. The cocoa tree, which 
grows to a very large size on the shores of the Torrid Zone, 
thrives in pure sand, which it interlaces with such a prodigious 
quantity of hairy fibres, as to form a solid mass around it. It is 
on this basis that it effectually resists the most violent tempests 



STUDY XL 109 

In the midst of a moving soil. What is singularly remarkable 
in the case of this plant, it never succeeds so well as in the sand 
on the sea-shore, and generally languishes in the interior of a 
country. 

The Maldivia Islands, which are for the most part nothing 
but sandy shallows, are the most renowned regions of all Asia 
for the abundance and the beauty of their cocoa trees. There 
are other vegetables of the shores die roots of which are 
drawn out like cords. This configuration renders them exceed- 
ingly proper for binding together the ground, and thereby de- 
fending it against the inroads of the watery element. Such are 
among ourselves the alder, the reed, but above all a species of 
dog-grass, which I have seen very carefully cultivated in Hol- 
land along the dikes. 

Bulbous plants appear in like manner to take pleasure in soft 
muds, into which they cannot penetrate very far from the 
roundness of their bulbs. But the elm extends it's roots at 
pleasure on the declivity of the mountain ; and the oak insert* 
his sturdy pivots into it, to lay hold of the successive strata of 
which it is composed. Other plants preserve on the high 
grounds,by their creeping foliage and their superficial roots, the 
emanations of dust which the winds there deposit. Such is the 
anemone nemerosa. If you find a single root of it on a hill, in a 
wood not greatly frequented, )^ou may rest assured that it dif- 
fuses itself like a net-work through the whole extent of that 
wood. 

There are trees, the ti'unks and the roots of which are admi- 
rably constructed with obstables which appear to us accidental, 
but which provident Nature foresaw. For example, the cypress 
of Louisiana grows with it's foot in the water, chiefly on the 
banks of the Mechassippi, whose vast shores it magnificently 
shades. It rises there to a height which surpasses that of al- 
most any of the trees of Europe.* Nature has given to the 
trunk of this stately tree a circumference of more than thirty 
feet, to enable it to resist the ices from the lakes of the North, 
which discharge themselves into that river, and the prodigious 
i-afts of timber which float down it's stream, and which have 
obstructed most of it's mouths to such a degree as to interrupt 

* Sec Father Charlevoix, his HiRtoi*^- of New France, vel. iv.. 



tlO STUDIES OF NATURE. 

the navigation, to vessels of any considerable burthen. And to 
put it beyond a doubt that she designed the thickness of it's 
trunk for withstanding the shock of floating bodies, it is remarka- 
ble that at the height of six feet she suddenly diminishes the 
size of it at least a third, the full magnitude having become su- 
perfluous at that degree of elevation: and for the purpose of secur- 
ing it in another manner still more advantageous, she raises out 
of the root of the tree at four or five feet distance all around, 
several large stumps from one foot to four feet high. These are 
not shoots ; for their head is smooth, and bears neither leaves 
nor branches : they are real ice-breakers. 

The tupelo, another great tree of Carolina, which grows like- 
wise by the water's-sidc, but in creeks, has nearly the same di- 
mensions at it's base, excepting the ice-breakers or pallisades. 
The seeds of those trees are fluted, as I have already observed 
to be the case of aquatic seeds in general ; and that of the cy- 
press of Louisiana differs considerably, by it's nautical form, 
from that of the cypress of the mountains of Europe, which is 
volatile. These observations are so much the more worthy of 
credit, that Farther Charlevoix^ who in part relates them, de- 
duces no consequence whatever from the facts, though he was 
abundantly capable of interpreting their use. 

It must now be apparent of what importance it is to connect 
the study of plants with that of the other works of Nature. It is 
possible to ascertain by their flowers the exposure to the Sun 
which is best adapted to them ; by their leaves the quantity of 
water that is necessary to vegetation ; by their roots, the soil 
which is most suitable; and by their fruits, the situations in 
which they ought to be placed, together with new relations to 
the animals which feed upon them. By fruit I mean, as Bota- 
nists likewise do, seed of every species. 

The fruit is the principal character of the plant. Of this we 
may form a judgment, first from the care which Nature has be- 
stowed on it's formation and preservation. It is the ultimate 
term of her productions. If you examine in a vegetable the 
different envelopes which enclose it's leaves, it's flowers, and it's 
fruits, you will perceive a most wonderful progression of pains 
and precautions. The simple leaf-buds are easily distinguisha- 
"ble from the simplicity of their cases. Nay there are plants 
which have none at all, as the fruits of the gramineous, which 



STUDY XI. Ill 

fitart immediately out of the earth, and stand in no need of an) 
foreign protection. But the buds which contain flowers are 
provided with sheaths, or lined with down, as those of the apple- 
tree ; or cased over with glue externally, as those of the great 
India chesnut ; or are enclosed in bags, as the flowers of the 
narcissus ; or secured in some way or another, so as to be very 
distinguishable even before the expansion. 

You afterwards perceive that the care employed in dressing 
out the flower was entirely destined to the fecundation of the 
fruit ; and that when this is once formed. Nature redoubles her 
precautions, both externally and internally, for it's preservation. 
She gives it a placenta, she envelops it in pellicles, in shells, in 
pulps, in pods, in capsules, in husks, in skins, and sometimes in 
a case of thorns. A mother cannot pay more attention to the 
cradle of her inlant. In process of time, in order that her 
grown child may be enabled to go abroad, and look for a settle- 
ment in the world, she crowns it with a tuft of plumage;, or in- 
closes it in a shell : furnishes it with wings to fly away through 
the air, or with a bark to sail ofl" along the face of the water. 

There is something still more marked to arrest our observa- 
tion in favour of the fruit. It is this, that Nature frequenth 
varies the leaves, the flowers, the stems, and the roots of a plant ; 
but the fruit remains constantly the same, if not as to it's form, 
at least as to it's essential substance. I am persuaded that when 
she was pleased to create a fruit, it was her intention that it 
should have the power of re-producing itself on the mountains., 
in the plains, amidst rocks, in sands, on the brink of waters, and 
under different Latitudes ; and in order to adapt it to it's situa- 
tion, she varied the watering-pot, the mirror, the prop, the atti- 
tude, the buttress, and the fur of the vegetable, correspondingly 
to the Sun, to the rains, to the winds, and to the soil, lb this 
intention, I believe, we ought to ascribe the prodigious variety 
of species in cveiy genus, and the degree of beauty which each 
attains when in the situation that is natural to it. Thus, in form- 
ing the chesnut to reach perfection on the stony mountains of 
the South of Europe, and to supply the want of corn, which 
scarcely ever succeeds there, she placed it on a tree which in 
those regions attains magnificence from it's adaptations. 

I have eaten of the fruit of the chesnut-tree of the Island of 
Corsica. It is as large as small hen's eggs, and makes excellent 
food. You may read in a modem traveller the description of a 



112 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

chesnut-trce which grew in Sicily, on one of the ridges of Mount 
iEtna. It's foliage is of such extent that a hundred cavaliers 
could repose with ease under it's shade. For that reason it 
obtained the name of centum cavallo. Father Kircher assures 
us that he had seen on the same mountain, in a place called 
Trecastagne^ three chesnut-trees of such a prodigious size, that 
when they were felled you might have lodged a large flock of 
sheep under covert of their bark. The shepherds employed them 
for this purpose in the night time, and in bad weather, instead 
of penning up their charge in the fold. Nature has granted to 
this stately vegetable the faculty of collecting on the steep moun- 
tains the waters of the Atmosphere, by means of leaves formed 
like so many tongues ; and of penetrating, by means of it's stur- 
dy roots, down to the very bed of fountains in despite of lavas 
and rocks. 

Nature has been pleased elsewhere to produce the fruit of 
this tree with a degree of bitterness, for the use of some animal 
no doubt, on the brink of the salt-water creeks and arms of the 
Sea in Virginia. She has bestov/ed on the tree which bears it's 
leaves disposed in form of a tile, a scaly bark, flowers different 
from those of the European chesnut-tree, but adapted unques- 
tionably to the humid exhalations, and to the aspects of the Sun 
to which it is exposed. In a word, she has transformed it into 
the great India chesnut. It arrives at much greater beauty in 
it's native country than in Europe. That of America is the 
maritime chesnut-tree ; and that of Europe is the chesnut-tree 
of the mountains. She has placed, perhaps by a diff"erent kind 
of combination, this fruit on the beech-tree of our hills, the mast 
of which is evidently a species of chesnut. 

Finally, by means of one of those maternal attentions which 
have induced her to suspend, even on herbs, the productions of 
trees, and to serve up the same dishes on the smallest tables, she 
has placed before us the same fruit in the grain of the black com, 
whicn in it's colour and it's triangular form resembles the seed 
of the beech, called in LatinyL'^z/^, whence this species of com 
has obtained the name of fagopyrum. One thing at any rate 
is certain, namely, that independent of the mealy substance, we 
find in the black-corn, in the beech-mast, and in the chesnut, si- 
milar properties, such as that of cooling excessive heat of urine.* 

* See ChoimPs Treatise on Common Plants. 



STUDY XI. lU 

It was in like manner the intention of Nature to produce the 
acorn in a great variety of exposures. Plinij enumerated in his 
time thirteen different species in Europe, one of them, which 
makes very excellent food, is that of the green oak. It is of 
this that the Poets speak when they celebrate the felicity of the 
Golden Age, because it's fruit then served as an aliment to 
Man. It is worthy of being remarked that there is not a single 
genus of vegetable but what gives, in some one of it's species, 
a substance capable of being converted into nourishment for 
mankind. The acorn of the green oak is, among the fruits of 
this genus of trees, the portion reserved for our use. Nature 
has been pleased, after making this provision for Man, to scat- 
ter the other species of the oak over the different soils of Ame- 
rica, to supply the necessities of her other creatures. She has 
preserved the fruit, and has varied the other parts of the vege- 
ble. She has placed the acom, but with the leaves of the willow, 
on the plant which has for that reason got the name of the wil- 
low-leafed oak, and which thrives in that country by the water's- 
side.* She has placed it together with small and pendent leaves 
affixed to pliant tails like those of the aspin,, on the water oak, 
which grows there in the marshes. But when she intended to 
plant them in dry and parched soils, she united to them leaves 
often inches in breadth, adapted to the reception of rain-water, 
such are those of the species known by the name of the black 
oak in that country. 

It may be necessary farther to observe, that the place where 
any species of plant produces the finest fruit, determines it's 
principal genus. Accordingly, though the oak has it's species 
scattered about every where, it must be considered as of the 
genus of mountain-trees ; because that which grows on the 
mountains of America, and there distinguished by the name of 
the chesnut-leafed oak, yields the largest acorns, and is one of 
the greatest trees in that part of the world ; whereas the water- 
oak and the willow-leafed oak, rise to no great height, and pro- 
duce very small acorns. 

The fruit, as we have seen, is the invisible character of the 
plant. To it, accordingly. Nature has likewise attached the 

* See the figures of it in Father Charlevoix, his History of New France, 
vol. iv. 

Vmt tt p 



114 STIJDIES OF NATURE. 

principal relations of the animal kingdom to the vegetable. It 
was her intention that an animal of the mountains should find 
the fruit on which he has been accustomed to live in the plains, 
on the sand, among the rocks, when he is under the necessity of 
changing his country, and especially on the brinks of rivers, 
when he descends thither to quench his thirst. I am not ac- 
quainted with a single mountain-plant but what has some of it's 
species, with their corresponding varieties, scattered over all 
situations, but principally on the margin of waters. 

The mountain-pine has it's kernels mounted on wings, and the 
aquatic pine has it's seed inclosed on a skiff. The seeds of the 
thistle which grow on parched soil, are furnished with plumes 
to convey them from place to place : those of the fullers-thistle, 
which thrives bv the water's-side, have none, because they had 
no occasion for any to assist them in swimming. Their flowers 
vary for similar reasons ^ and though Botanists have two dif- 
ferent genera of them, the goldfinch fails not to acknowledge 
this last as a real thistle. He rests himself upon it when he 
finds it convenient to go and cool himself on some watery bank. 
He forgets, on beholding his favourite plant, the sandy doAMis 
where he was born, and cheers the banks of the rivulet with the 
music of his song, and the beauty of his plumage. 

It appears to me impossible to acquire any thing like a know- 
ledge of plants unless by studying their geography and their 
cphemeris. Without this double illumination, which mutually 
reflects, their forms will be for ever strange to us. The greatest 
part of Botanists however pay no manner of regard to this. In 
making their collections, they remark not the season at which 
plants grow, nor the place where, nor the aspect to which they 
are exposed. They carefully attend to all their intrinsic parts, 
and especially to their flowers ; and after this mechanical ex- 
amination, deposit them in their herbary, and imagine they have 
a thorough knowledge of them, especially if they have had the 
good fortune to dignify them by imposing some Greek name. 
They resemble a certain hussar of whom I have heard, who 
having happened to find a Latin inscription in characters of 
bronze, on an antique monument, disengaged them one after 
another, and tumbled them together into a basket, -which he dis- 
patched to an Antiquarian of his friends, with a request that he 
would inform him what they meant. They no more load us to 



STUDY XL 115 

an acquaintance with Nature, than a Grammarian would give 
us a relish for the genius of Sophocles^ bv presenting us with a 
naked catalogue of his tragedies, of the division of their acts 
and scenes, and of the number of verses which compose them. 
With equal absurdity are they chargeable who collect plants, 
without marking their relations to each other, and to the ele- 
ments ; they scrupulously preserve the letter, but suppress the 
sense. Far different was the manner in which a Tournefort^ a 
Vailianty a Linnceus, prosecuted the study of Botany. If these 
learned men have not deduced any consequence from those re- 
lations, they have at least prepared the projecting stones of ex- 
pectation, which promise the construction of a future fabric of 
science. 

Though the observations which I have just made respecting 
the elementary harmonies of plants, are but few in number, I 
have the confidence to affirm that they are of very high impor- 
tance to the progress of agriculture. The point in question is 
not to detennine geometrically the genera of flowers, whose 
mirrors are the best adapted for reflecting the rays of the Sun 
in every point of Latitude ; the glory of calculating their curves 
is reserved for future Newtons. Nature has outrun our most 
ardent wishes in those places where she has been left at liberty 
to re-establish her own plans. We have it in our power to se- 
cure prosperity to ours, in a manner the most beneficial, by 
reducing them into harmony with her's. In order to ascertain 
what plants are best adapted to succeed in svich and such a dis- 
trict, you have only to pay attention to the wild plants which 
thrive there spontaneously, and which are distinguishable for 
their vigor and for their multitude : then substitute in their place 
domestic plants, which have the same kind of flowers and leaves. 
Wherever umbelliferous plants grow, you may put in their room 
such of our culinary vegetables as have most analogy with them, 
from their leaves, their flowers, their roots, and tlicir grains. 
such as the daucus genus : the artichoke will there usefully re- 
place the gaudy thistle ; the domestic plumb-tree ingi-afted on a 
wild stock of the same plant, in the very place where this spon- 
taneously sprung up, will become extremely vigorous. I am 
persuaded that by these natural approximations, advantage might 
be derived from the most barren sands and rocks ; for there is 



116 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

not a single genus of wild plant but what contains a species fit 
for food. 

But it was not sufficient for Nature to have established so 
manv harmonies between plants, and the situations in which 
they were destined to vegetate, had she not likewise provided 
means for restoring them, when destroyed by the intolerant cul- 
ture of Man. Let a piece of ground be left uncultivated for ever 
so short a space of time, and you will presently see it clothed 
with vegetables. They grow in that case in such numbers, and 
so vigorously, that there is no husbandman capable of produ- 
cing an equal quantity on the same spot, let him take what pains 
he will. These shoots however, so vigorous and so rapid, which 
frequently take possession of our dock-yards of free-stone, of 
our walls of ashlar, and of our courts paved with granite, are in 
many cases only a provisional culture. Nature who is always 
advancing from harmony to harmony, till she has attained that 
point of perfection which she has proposed to herself, sows at 
first with grasses, and with herbage of different species, all aban- 
doned soils, waiting for an opportunity of exerting her powers, 
to raise on that very spot vegetables of a higher order. On the 
rude neglected districts, where barren downs alone meet our 
eyes, posterity may behold stately forests arising. 

We shall throw, as our custom is, a superficial glance on the 
very ingenious methods which Nature employs for preparing and 
conducting those vegetable progressions. We shall hence attain 
a glimpse at least, not only of the elementary relations of plants, 
but of those which exist betvv-een their different classes, and 
which extend even to the animal kingdom. Vegetables the most 
contemptible in the eyes of Man are frequently the most neces' 
sary in the order of Creation. 

The principal means employed by Naturi for securing the 
growth of plants of every other species, are the thorny plants. 
It is veiy remarkable that plants of this description are the first 
v/hich appear on lands in fallow, or in forests which have been 
cut down* They are in truth wonderfully well adapted to pro- 
mote foreign vegetations, because their leaves with deep inci- 
sions, like those of the thistle and echium, or their sprigs bent 
into an arch, as those of the bramble, or their horizontal and 
interlaced branches, like those of the black-thoi-n, or their 
houghs bristled with briars and unprovided with lea-^Ts, as thost 



STUDY XI. lir 

of the sea-rush, leave underneath and around them many inter- 
vals through which other vegetables may arise, and find protec- 
tion from the tooth of most quadrupeds. Nurseries of trees are 
frequently found in their bosom. Nothing is more common in 
coppice-woods than to see a young oak start out of a tuft of 
brambles, which enamels the earth all around with it's clusters 
of prickly flowers ; or a young pine arise out of a yelloAv brake 
of marine-rushes. 

Wlien these trees have once acquired a certain degree of 
growth and size, they stifle by their shade those thorny plants, 
which subsist no longer except along the skirts of the wood, 
where they enjoy air sufficient for their vegetation. But in this 
situation, such plants are still going on to extend the empire of 
their superiors from year to year over the plains. Thus, the 
thorny plants are the original cradles of the forests ; and the 
scourge of the agriculture of Man is the bulwark of that of 
Nature. 

]Man has however imitated in this respect the processes of 
Nature ; for if he wishes to protect the newly sown seeds of his 
garden, he finds it frequently necessary to cover them with 
prickly branches of one sort or another. It appears to me pro- 
bable that there is not a heath but what in time might become a 
forest, were their commoners restrained from driving the flocks 
thither to pasture, for the cattle crop the tender shoots of the 
trees as fast as they spring up. This in my opinion is the reason 
why the declivities of the lofty mountains of Spain, of Persia, and 
of many other parts of the World, are not clothed with trees : it is 
because of the numerous flocks of sheep which are driven thither 
in Summer, and which roam over their different chains. I am 
fully convinced that those mountains were covered in the earlier 
ages of the \Vorld with forests which were laid low by their 
first inhabitants : and that they would resume their ancient 
clothing, though now naked and desert, were the cattle to pas- 
ture on them no longer. It is very remarkable that those ele- 
vated regions are sowed over with prickly plants, just as our 
heaths generally are. 

Don Garcias de Figueroa Ambassador from Spain at the Court 
of Cha- Abbas King of Persia, relates, in the account which he 
has given ol his journey, that the lofty mountains of Persia 
which he crossed, and where the Turcomans are continually 



118 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

straying as they tend their fleecy charge, were covered with a 
species of thorny shrub, which grew luxuriantly in the most 
parched situations. This same shi-ubbery served as a retreat to 
a great number of partridges. 

From this circumstance we take occasion to observe, that Na- 
ture emploA's the birds particularly to sow the thorny plants in 
places the steepest and most inaccessible. They are accustom- 
ed to retire thither in the night, and there deposit with their 
dung the stony seeds of the bramble-berry, of the berry of the 
eglantine, of the barberry, and of most thorny shrubs, which, 
from relations no less wonderful, are indigestible in their sto- 
mach. 

Birds have besides particular harmonies with those vegetables 
as we shall make appear in it's proper place. Not only do they 
find on them a plentiful supply of food, and shelter under them, 
but do\vns for lining their nests, as on thistles, and on the cot- 
ton-tree of America ; so that if many of them resort for safety 
to the elevation of towering trees, others find it in the thorny 
brake. There is not a single bush but what has it's peculiar 
bird. 

Independently of the plants proper to each situation, and 
v;hich are there domesticated, there are some in a state of in- 
cessant peregrination, and flit round the earth without settling 
in any fixed abode. We can easily have a conception of the 
cause of this constant removal by supposing, what is actually 
the truth, that several of such plants shed their seeds only at the 
season Avhen certain regular winds blow, or at certain revolu- 
tions of the currents of the Ocean. Whatever may be in this, 
I am of opinion that we must rank under this description many 
plants which were known to the Ancients, but which are not 
now to be found. Such, among others, is the celebrated lazer- 
pitium of the Romans, the juice of which, called lazer ^ sold for 
it's weight in silver. This plant, according to Pliny ^ grew in 
the vicinity of the city of Corenum, in Africa ; but it had be- 
come such a rarity in his time as hardly any where to be seen. 
He tells us that a single plant of it had been found under the 
reign of Nero, and that it was sent to this Prince as a great cu- 
riosity. 

Modem Botanists pretend that the lazerpitium is the same 
plant with the silphium of our gardens. But they are evidently 



STUDY XI. 119 

in an error, from the descriptions which the Ancients, and 
among others Pliny and Dioscorides^ have left us of it. For 
my own part, I have no doubt that the lazerpitium is of the 
number of the vegetables which are destined to flit along the 
Earth, from East to West, and from West to East. It is per- 
haps at present on the western shores of Africa, whither the eas- 
terly winds may have conveyed it's seeds ; perhaps likewise, by 
the revolutions of the westerly winds, it may have returned to 
the place where it was in the days of Augustus ; or it may have 
been conveyed into the plains of Ethiopia, among Nations total- 
ly unacquainted with its pretended wonderful qualities. 

Plinij enumerates a gi-eat many other vegetables, which are 
at this day to us equally unknown. It may merit observation, 
that those vegetable apparitions have been contemporary with 
several species of flitting birds, which have likewise disappear- 
ed. It is well known that there are several classes of birds, 
and of fishes, which do nothing but migrate incessantly over the 
Earth and through the Seas ; some in a certain revolution of 
days ; others at the end of a certain period of years. Many 
plants may be subjected to a similar destiny. This law extends 
even to the Heavens, in which some new star is from time to 
time making it's appearance. Nature, as I think, has disposed 
her Works in such a manner as to have always some novelty in 
reserve, in order to keep man continually in exercise. She has 
established, in the duration of the existence of the different be- 
ings of each kingdom, concerts of a moment, of an hour, of a 
day, of a moon, of a year, of the life of a man, of the duration 
of a cedar, and perhaps of that of a globe : but this undoubted- 
ly is known to the Supreme Being alone. 

I am persuaded at the same time, that the greatest part of 
flitting plants must have a principal centre, such as a steep rock, 
or an island in the midst of the Sea, from whence they diffuse 
themselves over all the rest of the world. This leads me to 
deduce what I consider as an irrefragable argument in support 
of the recent Creation of our Globe ; it is this, were the Globe 
of ver}^ remote antiquity, all the possible combinations of the 
propagation of plants by seed would have been already com- 
pleted all over the World. Thus, for example, there would not 
be an uninhabited island and shore of the Seas of India which 
you would not find planted with cocoa-trees, and sown with co- 



120 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

coa-nuts, which the Ocean wafts thither every year, and which 
It scatters alternately on their strands, by means of the variety 
of it's monsoons and of it's currents. Now it is unquestion- 
ably certain, that the radiations of that tree and it's fruit, the 
principal focuses of which are in the Maldivia Islands, are not 
hitherto diffused over all the islands of the Indian Ocean. 

The Philosopher Fraticis Leguat^ and his unfortunate com- 
panions, Mho were, in the year 1690, the first inhabitants of the 
small Island of Rodriguez, which lies a hundred leagues to the 
eastward of the Isle of France, found no cocoa-trees in it. But 
precisely at the period of their short residence there, the Sea 
threw upon the coast several cocoa-nuts in a state of germina- 
tion ; as if it had been the intention of Providence to induce 
them, by this useful and seasonable present, to remain on that 
island and to cultivate it. 

Francis Leguat, who was unacquainted with the relation 
which seeds have to the element in which they are designed to 
grow, was very much astonished to find that those fruits, which 
weighed from five to six pounds, must have performed a voyage 
of sixty or fourscore leagues without being corrupted. He took 
it for granted, and he was in the right, that they came from the 
Island of St. Brande, which is situated to the North-east of 
Rodriguez. These two desert islands had not as yet, from the 
Creation of the World, communicated to each other all their 
vegetables, though situated in a current of the Ocean which 
sets in alternately, in the course of one year, for six months 
toward the one, and six months toward the other. 

However this may be, they planted those cocoa-nuts, which 
in the space of a year and a half sent out shoots of four feet in 
height. A blessing from Heaven so distinctly marked, had 
not the power of detaining them in that happy island. An in- 
considerate desire of procuring themselves women constrained 
them to abandon it, notwithstanding the remonstrances of Le- 
guaty and plunged them into a long series of calamities which 
few of them were able to survive. For my ov/n part, I can en- 
tertain no doubt that had they reposed the confidence in Provi- 
dence which they had reason to do, it's care would have con- 
veyed wives for them into that desert Island, as it had sent to 
them the crift of the cocoa-nut. 



STUDY XL 121 

To return to the sul)ject of vegetable navigation ; all the 
combinations and the versatilities of their sowings, would have 
been long ago completed in islands lying between the same paral- 
lels, and in the same monsoons, if the World had been eternal. 
The double cocoa-nuts, the nurseries of which are in the Se- 
chelles Islands, would have diffused themselves, and would have 
had time to germinate on the Malabar coast, on which the Sea 
is from time to time throwing them. The Indians would have 
planted upon their shores those fruits to which they ascribed 
virtues so miraculous, while the palm-tree which bears them 
was so entirely unknown but twelve years ago to the people of 
this coast, that they believed them to be natives of the bottom 
of the Sea, and thence gave them the appellation of marine co- 
coa-nuts. There are in like manner a multitude of other fruits 
between the Tropics, of which the primordial stocks are in the 
Moluccas, in the Philippines, in the islands of the South-Sea, 
and which are entirely unknown on the coasts of both Conti- 
nents, and even in the adjacent islands, which undoubtedly 
would have become there the objects of cultivation to their in- 
habitants, had the Sea been allowed sufficient time to multiply 
the projection of them on their shores. 

I shall pursue this reflection no farther ; but it evidently de- 
monstrates the newness of the World. Were it eternal, and 
exempted from the care of a Providence, it's vegetables would 
long since have undergone all the possible combinations of the 
chance which re-sows them. We should find their different 
species in every situation where it was possible for them to 
grow. From this observation I deduce another consequence, 
namely this. That the Author of Nature evidently intended to 
link Mankind together by a reciprocal communication of bene- 
fits, the chain of which is as yet very far from being completed. 
Where is, for example, the benefactor of Humanity, who shall 
transport to the Ostiacs and the Samoiedes, of Waigat's Strait, 
Winter's tree from the Straits of Magellan, the bark of Vkhich 
unites the savour of cloves, of pepper, and of cinnamon ? And 
who is the man that shall convey to Magellan's Strait the pease- 
tree of Siberia, to feed the starving Patagonian ? 

What a rich collection might Russia make, not only of the 
trees which thrive in the northern and the southern regions of 
America, but of those which, in all parts of the World, crown 

Vol. II. Q 



122 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

the lofty ice-covered mountains, Avhose elevated ridges have a 
temperature approaching to that of her plains ? Wherefore be- 
holds she not her forests enriched with the pines of Virginia, 
and \vith the cedars of Mount Lebanon ? The desert shores of 
the Irtis might every year clothe themselves with the same spe- 
cies of oats wherewith so many Nations, inhabiting the banks 
of the rivers of Canada, are principally supported. Not only 
might she collect in her plains the trees and the plants of cold 
Latitudes, but a great number of annual vegetables which grow 
during the course of a Summer in warm and temperate Lati- 
tudes. I know by experience that the Summer's heat is as pow- 
erful at PeterslAirg as under the Line. 

There are besides parts of the ground in the North, which 
have configurations perfectly adapted to afford a shelter against 
the northerly winds, and to multiply the warmth of the Sun. If 
<he South has it's icy mountains, the North has it's reverbera- 
tory valleys. I have seen one of those small valleys near Pe- 
tersburg, at the bottom of which flows a brook that never 
freezes even in the midst of Winter. The rocks of granite 
wherewith Finland is roughened all over, and which according 
to the report of Travellers cover most of the lands of Sweden, 
of the shores of the Frozen Ocean, and all Spitzbergen, are suf- 
ficient for producing the same temperatures in many places, and 
for diminishing in them to a considerable degree the severity of 
the cold. 

I have seen in Finland, near Wiburg, beyond the sixty-first 
degi'cc of Latitude, cheny-trees entirely exposed to the wea- 
ther, though these trees are natives of the forty-second degree ; 
that is of the kingdom of Pontus, from whence Litcullus trans- 
planted them to Rome after the defeat of Mithridatt-s. The 
peasantry of that Province cultivate tobacco M'ith success, 
which is a much more southerly plant, being originally a native 
of Brasil. It is I admit an annual plant, and that it does not ac- 
quire in it's northern situation a very high degree of perfume , 
for they are under the necessity of exposing it to the heat of 
their stoves, in order to bring it to a state of perfect maturity. 
But the rocks with which Finland is covered over would un- 
doubtedly present, to attentive eyes, reverberating situations 
which might bring it to a sufficient degree of maturity, ^^^thout 
the aid of artificial heat. 



STUDY XL 123 

1 myself found, not far from the city of Fredericksham, upon 
ti dunghill under the shelter of a rock, a very lofty tuft of oats 
the produce of a single seed, consisting of thirty-seven stalks, 
loaded with as many ears completely ripe, without reckoning a 
multitude of other small suckers. I gathered it with an inten- 
tion of having it presented to her imperial Majesty, Catharine 
II. by my general M. Dubosquct^ under whose orders, and in 
whose company I was then visiting the fortified places of that 
province : it was likewise his intention; but our Russian atten- 
dants, careless as all slaves are, suffered it to be lost. He was 
exceedingly vexed at this as well as I. It is impossible to help 
thinking, that a sheaf of corn so rich and beautiful, the produce 
of a province considered even at Petersburg as smitten with 
sterility, because of the rocks which cover it's surface, and which 
procured for it from ancient Geographers the epithet of lapidosa 
(stony), would have been as acceptable to her Majesty, as the 
huge block of granite which she has since had conveyed from 
thence, to be formed at Petersburg into the basis of a statue of 
Peter the Great. 

I have seen in Poland several private individuals cultivate the 
vine and the apricot-tree with very great success. M. de Id 
Roche^ Consul from the Prince of Moldavia, carried me when 
at Warsaw to a little garden in the suburbs of that city, which 
produced to the occupier an annual revenue of one hundred pis- 
toles, though it did not contain quite thirty of the last mentioned 
tree. It was totally unknown in that country a hundred and 
fifty years ago. The apricot was first introduced into it by a 
Frenchman, valet-de-chambre to a Queen of Poland. This man 
raised the fruit secretly, and made presents of it to the Grandee^ 
of the Country, pretending that he had received it from France 
by the couriers of the Court. The great did not fail to pay him 
magnificently for his presents j and this species of commerce 
became to him the foundation of an ample fortune, by means of 
which his great-grand-childrcn are at this day the most oppu- 
lent Bankers of the Country. 

What I have said respecting the possibility of enriching Rus- 
sia and Poland with useful vegetables, is not only in the view of 
acknowledging, the best way in my poAver, the gracious recep- 
tion with which I was honoured by persons of rank and by 
the government of those countries, when I was a stranger among 



124 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

them ; but because these indications tend equally to the im- 
provement of France, the Climate of which is more temperate. 
We have icy mountains capable of producing all the vegetables 
of the North ; and reverberating valleys equally adapted to the 
production of most of those of the South. It would not be pro- 
per, as our custom is, to make an effort to render this species 
of culture general through a whole district, but to set it a-going 
in some little sheltered exposure, or in some small winding val- 
ley. The influence of these positions is of no great extent. 
Thus the famous Constantia vine of the Cape of Good-Hope 
succeeds perfectly only on a small spot of ground, situated at 
the bottom of a little hill, whereas the adjoining and surround- 
ing vineyards do not produce the muscadine grape of any thing 
like the same quality. Of this too I have had personal expe- 
rience. 

In France it would be proper to look for sheltered aspects, 
such as we have been describing, in places where there are 
white stones in abundance, the colour of which is the best adapt- 
ed to reverberate the rays of the Sun. Nay I believe that marl 
is indebted to it's white colour for part of the heat which it 
communicates to the lands on which it is spread ; for it reflects 
upon them the rays of the Sun with so much activity, as to 
bum up the first shoots of many herbs. This is the reason, if I 
am not mistaken, why marl, which has in other respects the 
principles of fecundation within itself, kills a great many of the 
smaller herbs which are accustomed to grow under the shade 
of the corn, and whose first leaves are more tender than those 
of com, which is in general the most hardy of gramineous 
plants. 

It would be farther necessary to look for those fortunate ex- 
posures in the vicinity of the Sea, and under the influence of it's 
winds, which are so necessary to the vegetation of many plants 
that several of them refuse to grow in the inland parts of a 
countr}'. Such is among others the olive-tree, which it has 
been found impossible to propagate in the interior of Asia and 
of America, though the Latitude be in other respects favourable. 
Nay I have remarked that it is not fruitful in islands and on 
shores where it is excluded from the sea-breezes. To this 
cause I ascribe the sterility of those which have been planted 
in the Isle of France, on it's western shore ; for it is sheltered 



STUDY XI. V2b 

from the East-winds by a chain of mountains. As to the cocoa- 
tree, it will not thrive between the Tropics, unless it has, if I 
may venture to say so, it's root in the sea-water. It is I firmly 
believe for want of these geographical considerations, and some 
others of a similar nature, that many plans of improvement in 
cultivation have failed in France, and in her Colonies. 

However that may be, it might be possible to find within the 
kingdom an icy mountain, with perhaps a reverberating valley 
below. It would be a most agreeable employment to go in 
search of such a situation, and the greatest benefits might be 
derived from it. We might convert it into a Royal Garden, 
which would present to our Sovereign a spectacle of the vege- 
tation of a multitude of climates, upon one line of less than fif- 
teen hundred fathoms of elevation. There he might bid defiance 
to the burning heat of the dog-star, under the shade of cedars, 
on the mossy bank of a rivulet issuing from the snow ; and 
perhaps escape the severity of Winter's cold, at the bottom of a 
valley with a southern aspect, under the palm-tree, and amidst 
a field of sugar-canes. We might there naturalize the animals 
"which are the compatriots of those vegetables. He might hear 
the braying of the rein-deer of Lapland, from the same valley 
in which he would see the peacocks of Java building their nests. 
This landscape would collect around him a part of the tributes 
of the Creation, and exhibit to him an image of the terrestrial 
paradise, which was situated as I suppose in a similar position. 
In serious truth, I cannot help expressing a wish, that our Kings 
■would extend their sublime enjoyments, as far as the study of 
Nature has pursued it's researches under their fliourishing 
Empire.* 

It now remains that I examine the harmonies ^vhich plants 
form with each other. These harmonies constitute the inex- 
pressible charm lavished on the sites which Nature has sowed 

* JVcscia me7is hominum futi fortisque fiitttra: ! Ah, blind to fuluritv! Llttl<^ 
<li«l g'ood Saint-Pierre think that the LU-fatcd Prince, for whom he took so 
much delight to phmt and decorate this earthly Paradise, was in the course 
of a few flecthijj years to be dethroned, imprisoned, condemned, and publicly 
executed, in the Metropolis of his own Kingdom ; and the very name of King 
proscribed by a Nation once enthusiastically attached to Royalty. How won- 
derful are the Works of Nature' H"^^ im v;f,.i-;nijK i\^r- n ,v« nf Providence' 
—II II 



126 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

and planted with her own hand ; and they are to be the subject 
of the ensuing section. 

VEGETABLE HARM^ONIES OF PLANTS. 

We are going to apply to plants the general principles laid 
■down in the preceding Study, by examining one after another 
the harmonies of their colours, and of their forms. 

The verdure of plants, which is so graceful to the eye, is a 
harmony of two colours opposite in their elementary generation ; 
of yellow which is the colour of the Earth, and of blue which is 
the colour of the Heavens. Had Nature dyed plants yellow, 
they would have been confounded with the ground ; if blue, they 
would have been confounded with the Heavens and the Waters. 
In the first case, all would have appeared Earth ; in the second, 
all would have appeared sea : but their verdure gives them 
contrasts the most delightful with the grounds of this magnifi-* 
cent picture, and consonances equally agreeable with the yellow 
colour of the Earth, and with the azure of the Heavens. 

The green colour possesses this farther advantage, that it ac- 
cords in a most wonderful manner with all the others, which 
arises from it's being the harmony of the two extreme colours. 
Painters who are endowed with taste, hang the walls of their 
exhibition-rooms with green, in order that the pictures, of what- 
ever colours, may detach themselves from that ground without 
harshness, and harmonize upon it without confusion.* 

Nature, not satisfied with this first general tint, has employ- 
ed, in extending it over the ground of her scene, what Painters 
call transitions. She has appropriated a particular shade of 
bluish green, which we call sea-green, to plants which grow in 
the vicinity of water, and of the Heavens. This is the shade 
which in general tinges the plants of the shores, as reeds, wil- 
lows, poplars ; and those of high grounds, as the thisde, the 
cypress, and the pine ; and which makes the azure of the rivers 

* Undoubtedly when they put on a gret-n ground pictures of plants or land- 
scapes, such pictures detach themselves from it but indifferently. There is, 
in my opinion, a tint better adapted to be the ground of a picture -°-allery ; 
namely, gray. This tint, formed of black and white, which are the extremes 
of the chain of colours, harmonizes with every other wifliout exception. Na- 
ture frequently employs it in the Heavens, and on the Horizon, by metins (j< 
vapours and of clouds, which are generally of that colour. 



STUDY XI. 127 

to harmonize with the verdure of the meadows, and the azure 
of the Heavens with die verdure of the heights. Thus, by 
means of this light and fugitive tint, Nature diffuses delicious 
harmonies over the limits of the waters, and along the profiles 
of landscapes ; and it is productive of a still farther magic to 
the eye, in that it gives greater apparent depth to the valleys, 
and more elevation to the mountains. 

Something more wonderful still challenges our attention, 
namely this, that though she employs but one single colour in 
arraying so many plants, she extracts out of it a quantity of 
tints so endlessly varied, that each of those plants has it's own, 
peculiar to itself, and which detaches it sufficiently from it's 
neighbour to be distinguishable from it ; and each of these tints 
is farther varying from day to day, from the commencement of 
Spring, when most of them exhibit themselves in a blooming 
verdure, up to the last days of Autumn, Avhen they are trans- 
formed into various yellows. 

Nature, after having thus harmonized the ground of her pic- 
ture by means of a general colour, has detached from it every 
vegetable in particular by means of contrasts. Such as are de- 
signed to grow immediately on the ground, on strands, or on 
dusky rocks, are entirely green, both leaves and stems, as the 
greatest part of reeds, of grasses, of mosses, of tapers, and of 
aloes ; but those which are destined to arise out of the midst of 
herbage, have stems of different tints of brown ; such are the 
trunks of most trees, and the stalks of shrubs. The alder, for 
example, which thrives amidst the grassy turf, has a stem of an 
ash-coloured gray ; but the wallwort, which entirely resembles 
it in all other respects, and which grows immediately on the 
ground, is green all over. The mug-wort, which grows along 
hedges, has reddish stems, by which it is easily distinguishable 
from the neighbouring shrubs. Nay there are in every genui 
of plants, certain species which, by their shining colours, seen, 
to have been formed for terminating the limits of their classes.. 
Such is, in the sorb genus, a species called the Canadian service 
tree, the branches of which are of a coral red. There are in 
the willow tribe, osiers whose scions are as yellow as gold ; but 
there is not a single plant which does not detach itself entirely 
from the ground which surroimds it by it's flowers and by it't 
fruits. 



128 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

It is impossible to suppose that so many varieties should be 
mechanical results of the colour next to which bodies are placed ; 
for example, that the bluish green of most mountain vegetables 
should be an effect of the azure of the Heavens. It is worthy 
of being remarked, that the blue colour is not to be found, at 
least as far as I know, in the flowers or in the fruits of lofty 
trees ; for in this case they would be confounded with the Hea- 
vens ; but it is very common on the ground in the flowers of 
lierbs, such as the blue-bottle, the scabious, the violet, the liver- 
wort, the iris, and many others. On the contrary-, the colour 
of the earth is very common in the fruits of lofty trees, such as 
the chesnut, the walnut, the cocoa-nut, and the cone of the pine. 
Hence we have an intimation that the point of view of this 
magnificent picture was taken from the eye of Man. 

Nature, after having distinguished the harmonic colour of 
each vegetable by the contrasting colour of it's flowers and of 
it's fruits- has followed the same laws in the forms which she 
has given them. The most beautiful of forms, as we have seen, 
is the spherical ; and the most agreeable contrast which it is 
capable of presenting, is when found in opposition to the radia- 
ting form. You will frequently find this form and it's contrast 
in the aggregation of the flowers that go by the name of the 
radiated, as the daisy, which has a circle of small white diver- 
gent petals surrounding it's yellow disk : we fmd it likewise, 
with other combinations, in the blue-bottle, in tlie asters, and in 
11 multitude of other species. When the radiating parts of the 
flower are outermost, the spherical are inmost, as in the species 
•which I have just named ; but when the first are inmost, the 
rpherical parts are outermost ; this may be remarked in those 
whose stamina are drawn out into length, and the petals in sphe- 
rical portions, such as the flowers of the hawthorn and of the 
apple tree, and most part of the rosaceous and liliaceous plants. 
Sometim.e5 the contrast of the flower is with the surrounding 
parts of the plant. The rose is one of those in which it is most 
Mtrongly mai-ked : it's disk is formed of beautiful spherical por- 
tions, it's calix is brisded with beards, and it's stalk beset with 
thoras. 

When the spherical form is found placed in a flower between 
the radiating and the parabolic, then there is a complete elemen- 
taiy generation, the effect of which is always highly agreeable ; 



STUDY XL 129 

It is this too which is produced by most of the flowers that have 
just been named, by the profile of their calices, which terminate 
their projecting stems. The nosegay girls are so sensible of 
the value of this combination, that they sell a simple rose on it's 
branch at a much higher price than they would ask for a large 
posy of the same flowers, especially if there are on it a few buds, 
which present the charming progressions of the florification. 
But Nature is so vast, and my incapacity so great, that I must 
restrict myself to throwing a simple glance on the contrast which 
arises from the simple opposition of forms : it is so universal 
that Nature has given it to plants which had it not themselves, by 
opposing them to others which have a configuration entirely dif- 
ferent. 

The species opposite in forms are almost always in company. 
When you fall in with an old willow on the bank of a river 
which art has not degraded, you may frequently see upon it a 
great convolvulus covering the radiated foliage of the tree with 
it's own heart-formed leaves, and it's bell-shaped white flowers, 
to make up the defect of apparent flowers, which Nature has 
denied to this tree. Different species of ropeweed produce the 
same harmonies on various species of tall gramineous plants. 

These plants, called creeping, are scattered over the whole 
vegetable kingdom, and arc appropriated as I suppose to each 
vertical species. They have a great variety of methods of fix- 
ing themselves on the upright plant, which would alone merit a 
particular treatise. There are some which turn themselves spi- 
rally around the trunks of forest trees, such as the honey-suckle ; 
others, as pease, have hands with three to five fingei's, by which 
they lay hold of shrubbery : it is very remarkable that those 
hands do not make their appearance till they have acquired a 
height at which they begin to have occasion for them as a sup- 
port ; others, as the bastard-pomegranate, attach themselves in 
form of a cork-screw ; others form a simple hook with the tail 
of their leaf, as the nasturtium : the pink employs a similar 
method of adhesion. These two beautiful flowers arc support- 
ed in our garden with rods ; but it would be a problem well 
worthy of the investigation of Florists, to ascertain what are the 
auxiliary plants, if I may call them so, to which these were de- 
signed to unite themselves, in the places where they are native i, 
delightful groups might be formed by their re-union. 

Vol. II. R 



130 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

I am persuaded that there is not a vegetable but what has it's 
opposite in some part of the Earth : their mutual harmony is 
the cause of the secret pleasure which we feel in wild rural 
scenes, where Nature is at liberty to combine them. The fir- 
tree rises in the forest of the North like a loft)' pyramid, of a 
dark green, and with a motionless attitude. The birch is al- 
most always found in it's vicinity, and grows to nearly the same 
height, is of the form of an inverted pyramid, of a lively ver- 
dure, with a moveable foliage, continually playing about with 
every breath of the wind. The round-leafed trefoil loves to 
grow in the midst of the fine grass, and to adorn it with it's 
own flowery nosegay. Nay I believe that Nature has made those 
deep incisions in the leaves of a great many vegetables, entirely 
in the view of facilitating alliances of this sort, and of opening 
a passage for the grasses, the verdure and delicacy of whose 
stems form with them an infinity of contrasts. Of this instan- 
ces innumerable may he seen in uncultivated fields, where tufts 
of grass pierce through the broad plants of the thistle and the 
echium. This arrangement has likewise been made, in order 
that the grasses, which are the most useful of all vegetables, 
might receive a portion of the rain from Heaven, through the 
interstices of the broad foliage of those privileged children of 
Nature, which would stifle every thing around them, were it 
not for those profound incisions. Nature does nothing merely 
for the pleasure of doing it, but always connects with it some 
reason of utility : this appears to me so much the more deci- 
dedly marked, that the incisions in leaves are much more com- 
mon and 4eeper in the plants and under-shrubbery which rise 
to no great height, than in trees. 

The harmonies resulting from contrast are to be found even 
in the waters. The reed, on the brink of rivers, raises into the 
air it's radiating leaves and it's embrowned distaff", whereas the 
nymphaea extends at it's feet a broad heart-formed foliage, and 
roses of yellow gold : the one presents on the waters a continuecl 
pallisade, and the other a platform of verdure. 

Similar oppositions present themselves in the most frightful 
of climates. Martens of Hamburg, who has given a very good 
account of Spitzbergen, tells us, that when the seamen belong- 
ing to the vessel in which he navigated along it's coasts, heaved 
up the anchor, they seldom failed to bring up with it a very 



STUDY XI. 131 

broad leaf of the alga marina^ six feet in length, and attached 
to a tail as long : this leaf was smooth, of a brown colour spotted 
with black, striped with two white stripes, and made in form 
of a tongue : he calls it the plant of the rock. But what is 
very singular, it was Usually accompanied by a hairy plant, 
about six feet in length, like a horse's tail, and formed of hairs 
so fine, that one might denominate it, says he, the silk of the 
rock. He found on those dismal shores, where the empire of 
Flora is in such a state of desolation, the cochlearia (scurvy-grass) 
and the sorrel, which grew together. The leaf of the first is 
rounded in form of a spoon, that of the other is lengthened into 
the shape of the iron head of an arrow. A Physician of con- 
siderable ability, of the name of Bartholin^* has observed, thift 
the virtues of their salts are as opposite as their configurations ; 
those of the first are alkalis, those of the other are acids j and 
from their union results what medical men call a neutral salt, 
which they ought rather to call a harmonic salt, the most pow- 
erful remedy which can be employed as an antiscorbutic, and 
the scurvy is a disease which is readily and usually caught in 
those dreadful climates. \ 

For my own part, I apprehend that the qualities of plants are 
harmonic as their forms ; and that as often as we find them 
grouped agreeably and constantly, there must result from the 
union of their qualities, for nourishment, for health, or for plea- 
sure, a harmony as agreeable as that which arises from the con- 
trast of their figures. This is a presumption that I could sup- 
port, by referring to the instinct of animals, which in browsing 
on the herbage vary the choice of their aliments ; but this con- 
sideration would lead me away from my subject. 

I should never come to a conclusion, were I to go into a detail 
respecting the harmonies of so many plants which we under- 

* Sec ChomeVs History of Common Plants. 

f All this is too fanciful. If the scurvy-gi-ass and sorrel are found in cli- 
itiates where the scui-vy is frequent ; and if it be true, that a neutral (hai-mo- 
iiic) salt results from the union of tlie alkaline and acid, it has not yet been 
proved, that any of tlie neutral salts are among' tlie most powei-ful anti-scor- 
butic remedies. Without indulging' in such reveries or speculations, we 
should content ourselves with acknowledging the goodness of Providence 
who has so liberally dilFused tli-'io two plants ihrougli almost aJl cUmates of 
Uic cailli.— B. 8. ]! 



132 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

value, because they are feeble or common. If we suppose them, 
for thought's sake, of the size of our trees, the majesty of the 
palm would disappear before the magnificence of their attitudes 
and of their proportions. Some of them, such as the echium, 
rise like superb chandeliers, forming a vacuum round their cen- 
tre, and rearing toward Heaven their prickly arms, loaded their 
whole length through with lamps of violet-coloured flowers. 
The verbascum, on the contrary, extends around it broad leaves 
of solemn drapery, and sends up from it's centre a long distaff 
of yellow flowers, as salutary to the stomach as grateful to the 
touch. The violet of deep blue conti^asts in the Spring with the 
primrose, expanding it's golden cup with a scarlet brim. On 
the embrowned angles of the rock, under the shade of ancient 
beech-trees, the mushroom, white and round as an ivory piece 
for the chess-board, arises out of a bed of moss of the most 
beautiful green. 

Mushrooms alone present a multitude of unknown consonan- 
ces and contrasts. This class is, first, the most varied of all 
those of the vegetables of our climates. Sebastian le Vaillant 
enumerates one hundred and four species of them in the vicinity 
of Paris, without taking into the account the fungoids, which 
furnish at least a dozen more. Nature has dispersed them over 
most shady places, where they frequently form contrasts the 
most extraordinary. There are some which thrive only on the 
naked rock, where they present a forest of small filaments, each 
of which supports it's particular chapiter. There are some 
which grow on substances the most abject, with forms the most 
solemn ; such is that which thrives on what falls from the horse, 
and which resembles a Roman hat, whence it has borrowed it's 
name. Others, present agreeable consonances : such is that which 
grows at the foot of the alder, under the form of a cockle. 
What nymph has planted a shell by the root of a tree of the ri- 



vers 



This numerous tribe appears to have it's destiny attached to^ 
that of the ti-ee, which have each a mushroom appropriated to 
itself, and rarely to be found elsewhere ; such are those which 
grow only on the roots of plumb-trees and pines. To no purpose 
does Heaven pour down it's copious rains : the mushroom under 
coveil of it's umbrella, receives not a single drop. Thev derive 
the whole support of life from tiie Earth, and from the potent 



STUDY XI. 133 

vegetable to whose fortune they have united their ovm : like 
those little Savoyards wlvo are planted as posts at the gates ot" 
the hotels of the Great, they extract their subsistence out of the 
superfluity of another ; they grow under the shade of the Powers 
of the forest, and live on the superabundance of their sumptuous 
banquets. 

Other vegetables present oppositions of strength to weakness 
in a different way, and consonances of protection still more dis- 
tinguished. Those w'hich we have been mentioning, like lordly 
Chieftains leave their humble friends at their feet : the others 
carry them in their arms, and place them upon their heads. They 
frequently receive the recompense of their noble hospitality. 
The liannes which in the Antilles-Islands attach themselves to 
the trees of the forest, defend them from the fury of the hurri- 
cane. The Gallic Oak has oftener than once seen itself an ob- 
ject of veneration to the Nations, from having carried the mis- 
tletoe in it's branches. The ivy, a friend to monuments and 
tombs ; the ivy, with Which in ancient times they crowned the 
Poets who conferred immortality, sometimes covers with it's 
foliage the trunks of the stateliest trees. It is one among many 
of the irresistible proofs of the vegetable compensations of Na- 
ture ; for I do not recollect that I ever saw the ivy on the trunks 
of pines, of firs, or of other trees whose foliage lasts all the year 
round. It invests those only which are stripped by the hand of 
Winter. Syi;nbol of a generous friendship, it attaches itself only 
to the wretched ; and when death itself has smitten it's protector. 
it restores to him again the honours of the forest where he liye^ 
no longer; it makes him revive by decorating his shade with 
garlands of flowers, and festoons of undecaying verdure. 

The greatest part of plants which grow under the shade are 
adorned with the most vivid colours ; thus the mosses display 
the brilliancy of their emerald green on the dusky sides of the- 
rocks. In the forests, the mushroom and the agaricum distin- 
guish themselves by their colours from the roots of the trees 
under which they grow. The ivy detaches itself from their gray 
barks by it's shining green ; the mistletoe discloses it's branches 
of a yellowish green, and it's fruits similar to pearls, amidst the 
thick foliage of the oak. The aquatic convolvulus dazzles you 
with it's large white bell-shaped flowers on the trunk of the 
wUow. The virgin's bower clothes with verdure the ancient 



134 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

towers, and in Autumn her foliage of gold and purple seenrs td 
fix on their sober eminences the rich colours of the setting Sun. 
Other plants, entirely concealed from the eye, discover them- 
selves by their perfumes. It is thus that the obscure violet in- 
vites the hand of lovers to the bosom of the prickly shrub. And 
thus is verified on every hand, that great Law of contrasts which 
governs the World : No aggi-egation is in plants the effect of 
chance. 

Nature has established in the numerous tribes of the vegeta- 
ble kingdom a multitude of alliances, the end of which is unknown 
to us. There are plants, for example, the sexes of which are on 
different individuals, as in the animal Creation. There are others 
whom you always find united in several clusters, as if they loved 
to live in Society ; others, on the contrary, you almost always 
meet with in a state of solitude. I presume that many of these 
relations are connected with the character of the birds which 
live on their fruits, and which re-sow them. The herbage in 
the meadows frequently represents the bearing of the trees in 
the forests ; there are some which in their foliage and propor- 
tions resemble the pine, the fir, and the oak : nay I believe that 
every tree has a consonance in it's corresponding herb. It is 
by a magic of this sort that small spots of ground present to us 
the extent of a large district. If you are under a grove of oaks 
and perceive on an adjoining hillock tufts of germander, the fo- 
liage of which resembles them in miniature, you feel all the 
effect of a perspective. These diminutions of proportion extend 
from trees even down to mosses, and are the causes in part of 
the pleasure which we enjoy in wild rural scenes, where Nature 
has had leisure to dispose and accomplish her plans. The effect 
of those vegetable illusions is so undoubtedly certain, that if you 
have the ground cleared, the extent of any particular spot, when 
stripped of it's natural vegetables, appears much smaller than be- 
fore. 

Nature farther employs diminishing shades of verdure, which 
being lighter on the summit of trees than at their base, gives 
ihem the appearance of being more lofty than they really are. 
She appropriates, besides, the pyramidical form to many moun- 
tain-trees, in order to increase the apparent elevation of their 
site ; this is observable in the larch, the fir, the cypress, and in 
inany other plants which erow on heights. She sometimes unites 



STUDY XI. 135 

iin the same place, the effects of seasons and of climates the most 
opposite. She clothes in hot climates the whole sides of moun- 
tains with the vegetable called the ice-plant, because it seems 
entirely covered over with flakes of ice ; you would believe that 
in the midst of Summer, Boreas had breathed upon it all the 
chilling blasts of the North. 

On the other hand we find in Russia, mosses in the midst of 
Winter ; which, from the red and smoky colour of their flow- 
ers, have the appearance of being set on fire. In our rainy 
climates she crowns the summits of hillocks with broom and 
rosemary ; and the tops of ancient towers with the yellow gilly- 
flower : in the midst of the gloomiest day you would imagine 
you saw the rays of the Sun shining upon them. 

In another place she produces the effect of the wind in the midst 
of perfect stillness. In many parts of America, a bird has only 
to alight on a tuft of the sensitive plant, in order to put in mo- 
tion the whole stripe, which sometimes extends to three fur- 
longs. The European traveller stands still, and observes with 
astonishment the air tranquil, but the herbage in motion. I 
myself have sometimes mistaken, in our own woods, the mur- 
mur of poplars and of aspins for the bubbling of brooks. Often- 
er than once seated under their shade on the skirt of a meadow, 
whose herbage the winds put into an undulatory motion, this 
multiplied tremulousness has transfused into my blood the ima- 
ginary coolness of the stream. 

Nature frequently employs the aerial vapours in order to give 
a greater extent to our landscapes. She diff"uses them over the 
cavities of valleys, and stops them at the windings of rivers, 
giving you a glimpse, at intervals, of their long canals illumi- 
ned by the Sun. She thus multiplies their plans, and prolongs 
tlieir extent. She sometimes withdraws this magic veil from 
t)ie bottom of the valleys ; and rolling it over the adjacent 
mountains, on which she tinges it with Vermillion and azure, 
55he confounds the circumference of the Earth with the vault of 
Heaven. It is thus that she employs clouds as evanescent as the 
illusions of human life, to raise us to Heaven. It is thus that 
she expands over her most profound mysteries, the ineffable sen- 
sations of infinity, and that she withdraws from our senses the 
perception of her Works, in order to convey to o\u- minds a 
a more impressive feeling of them. 



136 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

ANIMAL HARMONIES OF PLANTS. 

Nature, after having established on a soil formed of frag- 
ments insensible and lifeless, vegetables endowed with princi- 
ples of life, of growth, and of generation, accommodated to 
those beings which had, together with these same faculties, the 
power of self-motion, dispositions to inhabit them, passions to 
derive their nourishment from them, and an instinct which im- , 
pels them to make a proper choice : these are animals. I shall 
here speak only of the most common relations which they have 
with plants ; but were I to attempt a detail of those which their 
innumerable tribes have with the elements, with each other, and 
with Man, whatever might be my ignorance, I should disclose 
a multitude of scenes still more worthy of admiration. 

In an order entirely new. Nature has not changed her Laws : 
she has established the same harmonies and the same contrasts, 
of animals to plants, as of plants to the elements. It would ap- 
pear natural to our feeble reason, and consonant to the great 
principles of our Sciences, which ascribe so much power to an- 
alogies, and to physical causes, that so many sensible beings 
which are produced in the midst of verdure, should be in pro- 
cess of time affected by it. The impressions of their parents, ad- 
ded to those of their own infancy, which serve to explain so 
many appearances in the human species, acquiring in them in- 
creasing strength from generation to generation, by new tints, 
ought at length to exhibit oxen and sheep as green as the grass 
jon which they pasture. We have observed in the preceding Stu- 
dy, that as vegetables were detached from the ground by means 
of their green colour, the animals which live on verdure distin- 
guish themselves from it in their turn, by means of their dusky 
colours ; and those which live on the dusky barks of trees, or 
on other dark grounds, are invested with colours brilliant, and 
sometimes green. 

On this subject I have to remark, that many species of birds 
of India which live amidst the foliage of trees, as the greatest 
part of paroquets, many of the colibri, and even of turtles, are 
of the finest green ; but independently of the white, blue, and 
red marbled spots, which distinguish their different tribes, and 
render them perceptible at a distance upon the trees, the brilli- 
ant verdure o^ their plumage detaches them, to great advantage, 



STUDY XL 137 

from the solemn and imbrowned verdure of those southern fo- 
rests. We have seen that Nature employs this as the general 
means of diminishing the reflexes of the heat ; but that she 
might not confound the objects of her picture, if she has dark- 
ened the ground of her scene, she has bestowed greater brillian- 
cy on the dresses of the actors. 

It would appear that Nature has appropriated the species of 
animals coloured in the most agreeable manner, to the species of 
vegetables whose flowers are the least vivid, as a compensation. 
There are much fewer brilliant flowers between the Tropics than 
in the Temperate Zones ; and as a compensation, the insects, 
the birds, and even the quadrupeds, such as several species of 
monkeys and lizards, are there arrayed in the most lively co- 
lours. When they rest on their proper vegetable, they form 
with them the most beautiful contrasts, and the most lovely har- 
monies. I have often stood still in the West-Indies, to contem- 
plate the little lizards, which live on the branches of trees, em- 
ploy themselves in catching flies. They are of a beautiful apple- 
green, and have on their back a sort of characteis of the most 
vivid red, resembling the letters of the Arabian alphabet. When 
a cocoa-tree had several of them dispersed along it's stem, never 
was there Egyptian Pyramid of porphyry with it's hierogly- 
phics, so mysterious and so magnificent in my eyes.* 

I have likewise seen flocks of small birds, denominated car- 
dinals^ because they are red all over, settle on shrubbery, the 
verdure of which was blackened by the Sun, and present the 
appearance of girandols studded with little burning lamps. Fa- 
ther du Tertre says, that there is not, in the Antilles, a spectacle 
more brilliant, than the alighting of coveys of the parrot species, 
called arras, on the summit of a palm tree. The blue, the red, and 
the yellow of their plumage, covers the boughs of the flower- 
less tree with the most supnrb enamel. Harmonies somewhat 
similar may be seen in our climates. The goldfinch, with 
his red head and wings tipped with yellow, appears at a dis- 
tance on a bush, like the flower of the thistle in which he was 

* They have somcthncs served me to exphdn the moral sense of hierog-ly- 
phics, engraven on the obelisks ofEgj^jt in honour of her conquering' heroes. 
On beholding- the charac.tcrr traced upon them from rig-htto left, with heads, 
beaks, and l)a^rs, they broujrht to my recollection the little fly-catchers of 
my palm-tree. 

Vol. II. 8 



138 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

hatched. You would sometimes take the slate-coloured wag- 
tall, when perched on the extremity of the leaves of a reed, for 
the flower of the iris. 

It would be a very great curiosity to collect a great number 
£)f these oppositions, and of those analogies. They would lead 
us to a discovery of the plant which is peculiarly adapted to 
each animal. Naturalists have paid to those adaptations no 
great degree of attention ; such of them as have written the His- 
tory of Birds, class them according to the feet, the bill, the nos- 
trils. They sometimes speak of the seasons of their appearance, 
but scarcely ever of the trees which they frequent. Those only 
who, employed in making collections of butterflies, are frequent- 
ly under the necessity of looking for them in their state of 
nymph, or caterpillar, have sometimes distinguished those in- 
jnsects by the names of the vegetables on which they found 
them. Such are the caterpillars of the tithymal, of the pine, of 
the elm, and so on, which they discovered to be peculiarly ap- 
propriated to these vegetables. But there is not an animal ex- 
isting but what may be referred to it's own particular corres- 
ponding plant. 

We have divided plants into aerial, aquatic, and terrestrial, 
as animals themselves are divisible, and we have found in the 
two extreme classes unvarying harmonies with their elements, 
They may be farther divided into two classes, into trees and 
herbs, as animals likewise are into volatile and quadrupeds, 
Nature does not associate the two kingdoms in consonances, 
but in contrasts ; that is, she does not attach the great animals 
to the great vegetables ; but unites them contrariwise, by asso- 
ciating the class of trees with that of the small animals, and 
that of herbs with the great quadrupeds: and by means of these 
oppositions, she bestows adaptations of protection to the feeble, 
and of accommodation to the powerful. 

This Law is so general, that I have remarked in every coun- 
try, where there is no great variety in the species of grasses, 
those of the quadrupeds which live upon them are but few in 
number ; and that wherever the species of trees are multiplied, 
those of volatlles are likewise so. The truth of this may be as- 
certained by consulting the herbals of many parts of America, 
and among others those of Guyana and of Brasil, which present 
"^ut few varieties in the grasses, but a great number in the trees. 



STUDY XI. 139 

li is well known that those countries have in fact few quadru-' 
peds natural to them, and that they are peopled, on the contrar}^, 
with an infinite variety of birds and insects. 

If we cast a glance on the relations of grasses to quadrupeds, 
we shall find that, notwithstanding their apparent contrasts, 
there is actually between them a multitude of real correspon- 
dencies. The moderate elevation of the gramineous plants 
places them within reach of the jaws of quadrupeds, whose 
head is in a horizontal position, and frequently inclined toward 
the ground. Their delicate shoots seem formed to be laid hold 
of by broad and fleshy lips ; their tender stems to be easily 
snapped by the incisive teeth ; their mealy seeds easily bruised 
by the grinders. Besides, their bushy tufts, elastic without be- 
ing ligneous, present soft litter to ponderous bodies. 

If, on the contrary, we examine the correspondencies which 
exist between trees and birds, we shall find that the branches of 
trees may be easily clasped by the four-toed feet of most birds, 
which Nature has disposed in such a manner, that by means of 
three before and one behind, they may be able to grasp the 
bough as with a hand. Again, the birds find in the different 
tiers of the foliage, a shelter against the rain, the Sun, and the 
cold, toward which the thickness of the trunks farther contri- 
bute. The apartures formed in these, and the mosses which 
grow upon them, furnish bituatlons for building their nests, and 
materials for lining them. The round or oblong seeds of trees 
are accommodated to the form of their bills. Such as bear 
fleshy fruits are i-esorted to by birds, which have beaks pointed, 
or crooked like a pick-axe. 

In the islands of the regions situated between the Tropics, 
and along tlie banks of the great rivers of America, the greatest 
part of maritime and fluviatic trees, among others, many spe- 
cies of the palm-tree, bear fruits inclosed in very hard shells, 
whereby they are enabled to float on the surface of the waters, 
which re-sow them at a great distance ; but their covering does 
not secure them from the attack of the birds. The dift'erent 
tribes of paroquets which have made them their habitation, and 
of which I have reason to believe that there is a species appro- 
priated to each species of palm-tree, easily find means to open 
their hard cases with hooked bills,, which pierce like an awl and 
hold fast like pincers. 



140 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

Nature has farther accommodated animals of a third order, 
which find in the bark, or in the flower of a plant, as many con- 
veniencies as the quadruped has in a meadow, or the bird in the 
whole tree : I mean the insects. Certain Naturalists have di- 
vided them into six great tribes, which they have characterized 
according to custom, but to very little purpose, by Greek names. 
They class them into coleopterous^ or cased insects, as the scarab 
tribe, such are our may-bugs, or chafers : into hemipterous^ or 
half cases, as the gallinsects, such is the kermes : into tetrapte- 
rous farinaceous^ or four-mealy- winged, as buttei-flies : into te- 
trapterous^ without any addition, or four-naktd-winged, as bees: 
into dipterous^ or two winged, as the common fly: and into 
apterous^ or wingless, as the ant. But these six classes admit 
of a multitude of divisions and of subdivisions, which unite spe- 
cies of insects of forms and instincts the most dissimilar; and 
separate a great many others of them which have otherwise a 
very striking analog}' among themselves. 

Whatever may be in this, the order of animals in question 
appears to be particularly appropriated to trees. Plimj observes 
that ants are singularly fond of the grains of the cypress. He 
tells us, that they attack the cones which contain them, on their 
half-opening as they arrive at maturity, and plunder them to 
their very last seed ; and he considers it as a miracle of Nature, 
that an insect so diminuitive should desti-oy the seed of one of 
the largest trees in the World. I believe we never shall be able 
to establish in the different tribes of insects, a real order, and in 
the study of them, that pleasure and utility of which it is sus- 
ceptible, except by referring them to the diiferent parts of vege- 
tables. Thus we might refer to the nectars of the flowers, the 
butterflies and flies v/hich are furnished with a proboscis for sip- 
ping up their juices; to their stamina, those flies which, like 
the bee, have spoon-mouths scooped out in their thighs, lined 
with hair, for collecting their powder, and four wings to assist 
them in carrj-ing off their booty ; to the leaves of plants, the 
common flies and gallinsects, which have pointed and hollow 
prongs for making incisions in them, and for drinking up their 
fluids ; to the grains, the scarab race, as the weevil, which is 
designed to force it's way into the heart of the seed to feed up- 
on it's meal, and which is provided with wings inclosed in cases, 
to prevent their being injured, and with a file to open for itself 



STUDY XL 141 

a passage ; to the stem, those worms which are quite naked, 
becausf they have no need of being clothed in a substance of 
wood to shelter them on every side, but they are furnished with 
augers, by the help of which they sometimes go nigh to destroy 
whole forests : finally, to the wreck of every sort, the ants 
which come armed with pincers, and with an instinct of advanc- 
ing in hosts, to cut to pieces and to carry off every thing that 
suits their purpose. 

The desert of this vast vegetable banquet is hurled down by 
the rainy torrents to the rivers, and thence to the Sea, where it 
presents a new order of relation with the fishes. It is worthy 
of remark, that the most attractive baits which can be presented 
to them are deduced from the vegetable kingdom, and particu- 
larly from the grains, or from the substances of plants having 
the aquatic characters which we have indicated, such as the 
hard shell of the Levant, the rush of Smyrna, the juice of the 
tithj'mal, the Celtic spikenard, the cummin, the anise, the nettle, 
the sweet-marjoram, the root of the birthwort, and the seed of 
the hemp. Thus the relations of these plants with fishes con- 
firm what has been said of those of their grains with the waters. 

By referring the different tribes of insects to the different 
parts of plants, and in that way only, can we discern the reasons 
for which Nature has been determined to bestow on those di- 
minutive animals figures so extraordinary. We should then 
comprehend the uses of their utensils, of which the greater part 
is hitherto unknown ; and we should have continually new oc- 
casion to admire the Divine Intelligence, and to perfect our ov/n. 
On the other hand, such progress in knowledge would diflusc 
the clearest light over many parts of plants, the utility of which 
is a world unknown to Botanists, because they have consonan- 
ces only with animals. 

I am persuaded that there is not a single vegetable but what 
has connected with it at least one individual of each of the six 
general classes of insects, acknowledged by Naturalists. As 
Nature has divided each genus of plants into different species, 
in order to render them capable of growing in different situa- 
tions ; she has in like manner divided each genus of insects into 
different species, in order to adapt them to inhabit different 
species of plants. For this reason she has painted and number- 
ed in a thousand different but invariable wavs, the almost infi - 



143 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

nite divisions of the same branch. For example, we constantly 
find on the elm the beautiful butterfly, called the gold-brocade, 
on account of it's rich colouring. That which goes by the name 
of the four omicrons, and which lives I know not where, always 
produces descendants impressed with that Greek character four 
times on their wings. There is a species of bee with five claws, 
which lives on radiated flowers only ; without those claws, she 
could not cling fast to the plane mirrors of those flowers, and 
load herself from their stamina, so easily as the common bee, 
which usually labours at the bottom of those with a deep 
corolla. 

Not that I imagine any one plant nourishes in it's different 
varieties all the collateral branches of one family of insects. I 
believe that each genus of these extends much farther than the 
genus of plants which serves as it's principal basis. In this Na- 
ture manifests another of her Laws, by virtue of which she has 
rendered that the best which is the most common. As the ani- 
mal is of a nature superior to the vegetable, the species of the 
first are more multiplied and more generally diffused than those 
of the second. For example, there are not so many as sixteen 
hundred species of plants in the vicinity of Paris ; but within the 
same compass there are enumerated near six thousand species 
of flies. This leads me to presume therefore that the different 
tribes of plants cross with those of animals, which renders their 
species susceptible of different harmonies. Of this a judgment 
may be formed from the variety of tastes in birds of the same 
family. The black-headed yellow-hammer nestles in the ivy ; 
the red-headed in walls in the neighbourhood of hemp-fields ; 
the brown yellow-hammer builds on trees by the highway's-side, 
where she finishes off her nest with horse hair. A dozen species 
of that bird are enumerated in our climates, each of which has 
it's particular department. Our different sorts of larks are like- 
wise apportioned to different situations ; to the woods, to the 
meadows, to the heaths, to arable lands, and to the shores of 
the Sea. 

Very interesting observations may be made respecting the du- 
ration of vegetables, which are unequal, though subjugated to 
the influences of the same elements. The oak serves as a mo- 
nument to the nations ; and the nostocium^ which grows at his 
foot, lives only a single day. All I shall say upon this head in 



STUDY XI. Ui 

general is, that the period of their decay is by no means regulat- 
ed in conformity to that of their growth ; neither is that of their 
fecundity proportioned to their weakness, to climates, or to sea- 
sons, as some have pretended. Pliny * quotes instances of 
holmes, of plane-trees, and of cypresses, which existed in his 
time, and which were more ancient than Rome, that is more 
than seven hundred years old. He farther tells us, that there 
were still to be seen near Troy, around the tomb of Ilus, oaks 
which had been there from the time that Troy took the name 
of Ilium, which carries us back to an antiquity much more re- 
mote. 

I have seen in Lower Normandy, in a village church-yard, an 
aged yew planted in the time of William the Conqueror ; it is siill 
crowned with verdure, though it's trunk cavernous and through 
and through pervious to the day, resembles the staves of an old 
cask. Nay there are bushes which seem to have immortality con- 
ferred upon them. We find in many parts of the kingdom haw- 
thorns which the devotion of the Commonalty has consecrated 
by images of the Virgin, and which have lasted for several ages, 
as may be ascertained by the inscriptions upon the chapels rear- 
ed in the vicinity. 

But in general Nature has proportioned the duration and the 
fecundity of plants to the demands of animal life. A great 
many plants expire as soon as they have yielded their seed, 
which they commit to the winds. There are some, such as 
mushrooms, whose existence is limited to a few days, as the 
species of flies which feed upon them. Others retain their seeds 
all the Winter through for the use of the birds ; such are the 
fruits of most shrubs. 

The fecundity of plants is by no means regulated according 
to their size ; but proportionally to the fecundity of the animal 
tepecies which is to feed upon them. The pannic and the small 
millet, and some other gramineous plants, so useful to man and 
beast, produce incomparably more grains than many plants both 
greater and smaller than themselves. There are many herbs 
which perpetuate themselves by their seeds only once a year ; 
but the chickweed renovates itself by it's seeds up to seven or 
flight times, without being interrupted in the process even by 

■• Natirral History, book xvi. chap i^ 



144 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

Winter. It produces ripe seeds within six weeks from the 
time of it's being sown. The capsule which contains them then 
inverts itself, turning toward the earth, and half opens to 
leave them at liberty to be carried away by the winds and the 
rains, which sow thfm again every where. This plant insures 
the whole year through the subsistence of the small birds of our 
climates. Thus Providence is so much the more powerful as 
the creature is more feeble. 

Other plants have relations to animals the more tenderly affect- 
ing, in proportion as climates and seasons seem to exercise over 
the animal the greater degree of severity. Were we enabled to 
investigate these adaptations to the bottom, they would explain all 
the varieties of vegetation in every latitude, and in every sea- 
son. Wherefore, for example, do most of the trees of the North 
shed their leaves in Winter ; and wherefore do those of the 
South retain theirs all the year round ? Wherefore, in defiance 
of the Winter's cold in the North, do the firs there continue al- 
ways clothed with verdure ? It is a matter of no small difficulty 
to discover the cause of this ; but the end is obviously discer- 
nible. If the birch and the larch of the North drop their fo- 
liage on the approach of Winter, it is to furnish litter to the 
beasts of the forest ; and if the pyramidical fir there retains 
it's leaves, it is to afford them shelter amidst the snows. This 
tree presents to the birds the mosses which are suspended on 
it's branches, and it's cones replenished with ripe kernels. In 
their vicinity oftentimes thickets of the service-tree display for 
their use the shining clusters of their scarlet berries. 

In the Winters of our climates, many evergreen shrubs, as 
the ivy, the privet, and others, which remain loaded with black 
or red fruit, contrasting strikingly with the snow, as the prime- 
print, the thorn, and the eglantine, present to the winged crea- 
tion both a habiiation and food. In the countries of the Torrid 
Zone the earth is clothed with fresh liannes, and shaded with 
trees of a broad foliage, under which animals find a cool retreat. 
The trees themselves of those climates seem afraid of exposing 
Their fruits to the burning heat of the Sun : instead of rearing 
them as a cone, or exhibiting them on the circumference of 
iheir heads, they frequently conceal them under a thick foliage, 
and bear them attached to their tnmks, or at the sprouting of 
their branches : such are the J acguier, the banana, the palm-tree 



STUDY XI. 14* 

of every species, the papayer^ and a mifltitude of others. If 
their fruits invite not the animals externally, by vivid colours, 
they call them by the noise which they excite. The lumpish 
cocoa-nut, as it falls from the height of the tree which bears it, 
makes the earth resound to a considerable distance. The black 
pods of the canneficier when ripe, and agitated by the wind, 
produce, as they clash against each other, a sound resembling 
the tic-tac of a mill. When the grayish fruit of the genipa of 
the Antilles comes to maturity, and falls from the tree, it 
bounces on the ground with a noise like the report of a pistol.* 
Upon this signal, more than one guest no doubt resorts thither 
in quest of a repast. This fruit seems particularly destined to 
the use of the land-crabs, which are eagerly fond of it, and very 
«oon grow fat on this kind of food. It would have answered no 
purpose for them to see it on the tree, which they are incapable 
of climbing : but they are informed of the moment wheH it is 
proper for food, by the noise of it's fall. 

Other fruits, as the jacque and mango, affect the sense of 
smelling in animals so powerfully, as to be perceptible more than 
the quarter of a league distant, when the fruit is to windward. 
I believe that this property of emitting a powerful perfume is 
likewise common to such of our fruits as lie concealed under 
the foliage, apricots for instance. There are other vegetables 
which manifest themselves to animals, if I may use that expres- 
sion, only in the night-time. The jalap of Peru, or the belle of 
the night, opens not her strongly-scented flowers except in the 
(dark. The flower of the nasturtium, or nun, which is a native 
of the same country, emits in the dark a phosphoric light, ob- 
served for the first time in, Europe by a daughter of the cele- 
brated Linneeus. 

The properties of these plants convey a happy idea of those 
delightful climates, in which the nights are sufficiently caJm, 
and sufficiently luminous to disclose a new order of society 
among animals. Nay there are insects which stand in no need 
of any pharos to assist them in steering their nocturnal courses. 
They carry their lanterns about them ; such are the species of 
luminous flies. They scatter themselves sometimes in the groves 
of orange-trees, of papayas, and of other fruit-trees, in the midst 

• Father du Tcrtre'$ History of the Antilles. 

Vol. II. T ■ 



146 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

of the darkest nights. They dart at once, by several reiteratecl 
beatings of their wings, a dozen of fiery streams, which illumi- 
nate the foliage and fruits of the trees whereon they settle with 
a golden and bluish light ;* then, all at once repressing their 
motion, they plunge again into obscurity. They alternately re- 
sume and intermit this sport during the whole night. Some- 
times there are detached from them swarms of brilliant sparks 
of light, which rise into the air like the emanations of a fire- 
work. 

Were we to study the relations which plants have to animals, 
we should perceive in them the use of many of the parts which 
are frequently considered as productions of the caprice and of 
the confusion of Nature. So widely extended are those rela- 
tions, that it may be confidently affirmed that there is not a down 
upon a plant, not an intertexture of a shrub, not a cavity, not a 
colour of leaf, not a prickle, but what has it's utility. Those 
wonderful harmonies are especially to be remarked with rela- 
tion to the lodgings and the nests of animals. If in hot coun- 
tries there are plants loaded with down, it is because there are 
moths entirely naked, which clip off their fleece and weave it 
into clothing. There is found, on the banks of the Amazon, a 
species of reed from twenty-five to thirty feet high, the summit 
of which is terminated by a large ball of earth. This ball is the 
workmanship of the ants, which retire thither at the time of the 
rains, and of the periodical inundations of that river : they go 
up, and descend along the cavity of this reed, and live on the 
refuse which is then swimming around them on the surface of 
the water. 

It is, I presume, for the purpose of furnishing similar retreats 
to many small insects, that Nature has hollowed the stems of 
most of our plants of the shore. The valisneria, f which grows 

** Consult the same Work of Bu Tertre. 
f Consult, with regard to the Valisneria, the voyage of an anonymous Eng- 
lish traveller performed in the year 1750, to France, Italy, and the Islands of 
the Archipelago, in four small volumes, vol. I. It is stored with judicious ob- 
servations of every kind. Consult likewise, respecting the genipa, and the 
different fruits, plants, and animals of southern countries, the sprightly I'a- 
ther du Tertre, the patriotic Father Charlevoix, John de Laet, tJie Historian, 
'^id all travellers who have written on the subject of Nature, withoijt the spK 
lit of system, assisted by the light of reason alouc. 



STUDY XI. U7 

'•rt the stream of the Rhone,* and carries it's flower on a spiral 
stem, capable of being drawn out in proportion to the rapidity 
of the sudden swellings of that river, has holes pierced through 
at the basis of it's leaves, the use of which is much more extra- 
ordinary. If you take up this plant by the root, and put it into 
a large vessel full of water, you perceive at the basis of it s 
leaves masses of bluish jelly, which insensibly lengthen into py- 
ramids of a beautiful red. These pyramids presently furrow 
themselves into flutings, which disengage from the summit, in- 
vert themselves all around, and present, by their expansion, very 
beautiful flowers formed of purple, yellow, and blue rays. By 
little and little, each of these flowers advances out of the cavity 
in which it is partly contained, and withdraws to some distance 
from the plant, remaining however attached to it by a small fila- 
ment. You then perceive each of the rays of which those flow- 
ers are composed assume a motion peculiar to itself, which 
eommunicates a circular movement to the water, and precipitates 
to the centre of each of them all the small bodies which are 
floating around. If those wonderful expansions are disturbed 
by any sudden shock^ immediately every filament contracts, all 
the rays close, and all the pyramids retire into their cavities ,; 
fior those pretended flowers are polypuses. 

There are in certain plants parts which may be considered as 
characters of uncultivated Nature, but which are, like all the. 
rest of her Works, evident proofs of the wisdom and providence 
of her Author ; such are the prickles. Their forms are va- 
ried without end, especially in hot covmtrics. Some are shaped 
like saws, like hooks, like needles, like the head of a halberd, 
and like caltrops. Some of them are round like awls, some 
triangular, like the shoemaker's piercer, and some flattened like 
a lancet. There is no less variety in their aggregations. Some 
are arranged on the leaves in balls, like those of the opuntia i 
others in stripes, like those «f the Peruvian taper. Some are 

♦ The Vallisneria also grows in the Delaware, in Jamos-rivcr, and in manv 
of the lakes of North-America. Its real and well-ascertained liistory is, in- 
deed, very wonderful : but I fear the whole of what Saint-Pierre has said con- 
rerninp it. is not to be depended upon. It is to be observed, that he does not 
seem to speak of the plant from his own observation. He has mentioned the 
Spiral scape, or stem, of the (fcmahO plant in a former page. Sec paj^ 79 

oftnu«vc'i'i!n'-~n «; R ' 



148 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

invisible, as those of the shrub of the Antilles, known by the 
name of captain's-wood. The leaves of this formidable plant 
appear on the upper side smooth and shining ; but they arc 
covered on the under side with very delicate prickles, which are 
inserted in such a manner, that apply your hand to them ever 
so cautiously, it is impossible to avoid pricking your fingers. 

There are other thorns planted only on the stems of plants, 
others are on their branches. In our climates they are scarcely 
ever to be found, except on shrubbery, and on a few trees ; but 
in both Indies they are scattered over a great many species of 
trees. Their very various forms and dispositions have relations, 
of which the greatest part are to us unknown, to the security 
and defence of the birds which live upon them. It was neces- 
sary that many of the trees of those countries should be armed 
with thorns, because many quadrupeds are there to be found 
capable of climbing them, to eat the eggs and the young of 
birds, such as the monkey, the civet-cat, the tiger, the wild- 
cat, the musk-rat, the opossum, the wild rat, and even the com- 
mon rat. 

The Asiatic acacia* presents to it's winged inhabitants a re* 
treat absolutely inaccessible to their enemies. It bears no pric- 
kles on it's trunk, and in it's branches ; but at the height of ten 
or twelve feet, precisely at the place where the tree begms to 
branch off, there is a belt of several rows of large thorns, from 
ten to twelve inches in length, presenting an impenetrable ram- 
part of spikes nearly resembling the iron head of a halberd. The 
collar of the tree is encircled by it in such a manner, that it is 
impossible for any quadruped to get up. The acacia of Ame- 
rica, improperly called the false-acacia, has it's prickles formed 
into hooks, and scattered over it's branches, undoubtedly from 
some unknown relation of opposition to the species of quadru- 
ped which makes war on the bird that inhabits it. 

* There is a plant of the Asiatic acacia to be seen in the beautiful garden 
adjacent to the iron j^ate of Chaillot, which formerly belonged to the vu-tu- 
ous Chevalier de Gensin. As to the name of false-acacia, given to the acaciil 
of America, I must observe that Natm-e produces nothing false. She has giv- 
en varieties of all her productions, in all Coimtries, in order to bestow upon 
them relations acUpted to the elements and to animals ; and when we do not 
fmd in these the characters which we have assigned to them, the charge of 
faji^chood is nijt in justice to be fixed on her Wo^s*^ but An our systems. 



STUDY XI. 749 

There arc in the Antilles Islands trees which have no thorny 
prickles, but which are much more ingeniously protected than 
if they had. A plant known in those countries by the name of 
the prickly thistle, which is a species of creeping taper, attaches 
it's roots, similar to filaments, to the trunk of one of those trees, 
and runs to the ground all around it, to a considerable distance, 
crossing it's branches one over another, and forming an inclo- 
sure of them which no quadruped dares to approach. It like- 
wise produces a fruit very grateful to the palate. On beholding 
a tree, the foliage of which is harmless, filled with birds that 
have there fixed there habitation, surrounded about the roots by 
one of those prickly thistles, you are presented with the idea of 
one of those commercial defenceless cities, apparently accessible 
on every side, but protected all around by a citadel, encompas- 
sing it with extended entrenchments. Thus the tree is on one 
side, and it's thorn on the other. 

Quadrupeds which live on the eggs of birds Avould be redu- 
ced to great distress, did not Nature sometimes produce, on 
the summits of those very trees, a vegetable of very extraordi- 
nary form which opens a passage to them. It is in every respect 
the opposite of the prickly thistle. It consists of a root of two 
feet in length, as thick as a man's leg, pricked, as if pierced 
with a bodkin, and adhering to a branch of the tree by a multi- 
tude of filaments, somewhat in the same way that the pricklv 
thistle is affixed to the under part of it's trunk. Like the other, 
it derives it's nourishment from the tree, and emits from ten to 
twelve great leaves in form of a heart, of about three feet in 
length and two in breadth, rcssmbling the leaves of the nym- 
phaea. Father du Tertre calls it the false-root of China. What 
is still more extraordinary, it lets fall from the top of the tree 
on which it is placed, in a perpendicular direction, very strong 
cordage, of the size of a quill the whole length through, which 
takes root on reaching the ground. The plant itself emits no 
smell, but this cordage savours strongly of garlic. Undouljtedly, 
when a monkey, or some such clambering animal perceives this 
broad standard of verdure, to no purpose does the tree oppose 
around it's root a fortification of thorns, this signal announce? 
that he has a friend within the fortress : the smell of the cor- 
dage, which descends down to the giound, directs him to the 
scaling ladder, eyen during the night ; and while the birds are 



150 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

sleeping in security on their nests, confident in the strength of 
their bulwark, the enemy gets possession of the town through 
the suburbs. 

In those countries, the thorns upon the trees afford protection 
even to the insects. Bees there carry on their honey-making 
processes in the aged trunks of prickly trees hollowed by the 
hand of Time. It is very remarkable that Nature, who has 
provided this resource for the bees of America, has withheld 
from them a sting, as if those on the trees were sufficient for 
their defence. I believe that to this reason it may be ascribed, 
though no attention has been paid to it, that we have never 
hitherto been able to rear in the Antilles Islands the honey-bees 
of the country. They refused no doubt to take up their abode 
in domestic hives, because they did not consider themselves as 
there in a state of security ; but might perhaps have been in- 
duced to make that choice, had the hives to which they were 
invited been decorated and defended by thoras.* 

If Nat)ire employs prickly vegetables for the defence even of 
flies against the attacks of quadrupeds, she sometimes makes 
use of the same means for delivering quadrupeds from the per- 
secution of common flies. She has in truth bestowed on those 
which are the most exposed to it, manes and tails, armed with 
long hair, to drive them away ; but the multiplication of those 
insects is so rapid in warm and humid seasons and countries, as 
to threaten destruction to the whole i^ce of animals. One of 
the vegetable barriers opposed to them by Nature is the dioncea 
7miscipula. This plant bears on one and the same branches op- 
posite little leaves, besmeared with a sugary liquor resembling 
manna, and studded with very sharp prickles. When a fly 
perches on one of those little leaves, they instantly close with a 
spring, like the jaws of a wolf-trap, and the fly is spitted through 
and through. 

• I have shown, in an expi'ess mejnoir on the subject, that the common ho- 
ne)'-bee, (apis melUfica,') is not a native of America. So far I agree with Saint- 
Pierre : and I agree with him, also, that nature has withheld from several of 
the native honey-making species a sting. But on the other hand, it is certain 
that South-America at least, produced some species of honey-bees ivith stings. 
As to what our author has s.aid of the attachment of the defenceless species 
of bees to prickly trees, &c., it is an assertion, or hypothesis, which can d^?* 
zna^d no serloiHS notice, — B. S. B. 



STUDY XL 151 

ITiere is another species of the dioncea which catches those 
insects with it's flowers. When a fly attempts to extract it's 
nectareous juices, the corolla, which is tubulous, shuts at the 
qoUar, seizes the insect by the proboscis, and thus puts it to 
death. This plant is cultivated in the Royal Garden. It is ob- 
servable, that it's cup-formed flower is white, radiated with red, 
and that these two colours universally attract flies, from their 
natural avidity of milk and blood. 

There are aquatic plants armed with thorns proper for catch- 
ing fishes. You may see in the Royal Garden an American 
plant called martinia^ the flower of which has a very agreeable 
odour, and which, from the form of it's rounded leaves, the sleek- 
ness of their tails and of their stems, has all the aquatic charac- 
ters which have been indicated. It has this farther character 
peculiar to itself, that it transpires so copiously as to appear to 
the touch in a state of continual humiditj^ I can have no doubt 
therefore that this plant grows in America on the brink of the 
water. But the shell which envelops it's seed possesses a very 
extraordinary nautical character. It resembles a fish half-dried, 
white and black, with a long fin upon the back. The tail of this 
fish is drawn out into great length, and terminates in a very 
sharp point, bent into the form of a fish-hook. This tail usually 
separates into two, and thus presents a double hook. The con- 
figuration of this vegetable fish is completely similar in size and 
in form to the hook which is employed at sea for catching gold- 
neys, and at the head of which is figured, in linen, a flying- 
fish, with this exception, that the goldney-hook has but one 
curve and barb, whereas the shell of the martinia has two, which 
must render it's effects more infallible. This shell contains se- 
veral black seeds, shrivelled, and similar to the globules of the 
sheeps dung flattened. 

As I possess but few books on Botany, I did not know of what 
countiy the martinia was a native ; but having lately consulted 
the Work of Linnceus^ I find that we got it from Vera-Crui;. 
The celebrated Naturalist whom I have just mentioned, dis- 
covers in this shell no resemblance but that of a woodcock's 
head ; but had he ever seen the hook for goldneys he could not 
possibly have hesitated about preferring this similitude in the 
appearance, in as much as the extremity of this pretended beak 
bends back into t,wo hooks, which prick like needles, and arc^ 



152 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

as well as the whole shell, and the tail by which it is united to 
the stem, of a ligneous and horny substance not easily broken 
asunder. John de Laet* tells us, that the land of Vera-Cruz 
is on a level with the Sea, and that it's port, called St» John de 
Uidloa^ is formed by a small island no higher than the water ; so 
that, says he, when the tide rises very high, the land wholly dis- 
appears. 

Such inundations are very common at the bottom of the 
Gulph of Mexico, as we learn from the relation which Dampier 
has given us of the bay of Campeachy, which is in that vicinity. 
Hence I presume that the martinia, which grows on the inun- 
dated shores of Vera-Cruz, has certain relations, which we 
know nothing of, to the fishes of the Sea ; in as much as the 
seeds of several trees and plants of those countries, described 
by Johyi de Laet, possess very curious nautical forms. A 
drawing of the martinia, taken from nature, is presented in 
this Work. 

But there is no occasion to resort to foreign plants for ascer- 
taining the existence of vegetable relations to animal. The 
bramble, which affords in every field through which we pass a 
shelter to so many birds, has it's prickles formed into hooks ; so 
that it not only prevents the cattle from disturbing the birds' 
retirement, but frequently lays them under contribution for a 
ilake of wool or hair proper for finishing off their nests, as a re<- 
prisal for hostility committed, and an indemnification for ,da^ 
mages sustained. Pliny alleges that this gave rise to the pre* 
tended animosity between the linnet and the ass. This quad- 
ruped, whose palate is proof against prickles, frequently browses 
on the shrub in which the linnet builds her nest. She is so ter- 
rified at his voice, that on hearing it, says he, she kicks down 
her eggs ; and her callow brood die with the terror of it. But 
she makes war upon him in her turn, by fixing her attack on the 
scratches made in his hide by the prickles, and by picking the 
(lesh in those tender parts to the very bone. It must be a very 
amusing spectacle to view the combat between the little melodi- 
ous songster, and the dull, braying, but otherwise inoffensive 
3ti:mal. , 

' History of the West-Indiesj book v. chap. 1&. 



STUDY XI. 153 

Did we know the animal relations of plants, Ave should possess 
sources of intelligence respecting the instincts of the brute cre- 
ation with which we are totally unacquainted. We should know 
the origin of their friendships and of their animosities, at least 
as o those which are formed in society ; for with regard to such 
as are innate, I do not believe that the cause of them was ever 
revealed to any man. These are of a different order, and belong- 
to another world. How should so many animals have entered 
into life under the dominion of hatred, without having been 
offended ; furnished with skill and industry, without having ser- 
ved an apprenticeship ; and directed by an instinct more infalli- 
ble than experience ? How came the electrical power to be confer- 
red on the torpedo, invisibility on the cameleon, and the light 
of the stars themselves on a fly ? Who taught the aquatic-bug 
to slide along the waters, and another species of the same deno- 
mination to swim upon the back ; both the one and the other 
for catching their prey, which hovers along the surface ? The 
water-spider is still more ingenious. She incloses a bubble of 
air in a contexture of fdaments, takes her station in the middle, 
and plunges to the bottom of the brook, where the air-bubble 
appears like a globule of quick-silver. There she expatiates under 
the shade of the nymphsea, exempted from the dread of every 
foe. If in this species two individuals different in sex happen 
to meet, and to suit each other, the two globules, being in a state 
of approximation, become united into one, and the two insects 
are in the same atmosphere. The Romans who constructed on 
the shores of Baise saloons underneath the waves of the Sea, in 
order to enjoy the coolness and the murmuring noise of the 
waters, during the heats of Summer, were less dexterous, and 
less voluptuous. If a man united in himself those marvellous 
faculties which are the portion of insects, he would pass for a 
god with his fellow-creatures. 

It is of importance for us to be acquainted with at least such 
Insects as destroy those which are offensive to Man. We might 
turn their mutual hostility to good account, by converting it into 
the means of our own repose. The spider catches the flits in 
nets ; the formicaleo surprises the ants in a tunnel of sand ; the 
four winged ichneumon, seizes the butterflv on the wing. There 
is another ichneumon, so small and so canning, that it lays an 
egg in the anus of the vine-fretter. Man hi\s it in his powey 
Vol. II. U 



154 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

to multiply at pleasure the families of insects which arc useful 
to him ; and may find means of diminishing such as make de- 
predations on his agricultural possessions. The small birds of 
our groves tender him, to the same effect, services of still great- 
er extent, aad accompanied with other circumstances inexpres- 
sibly agreeable. They are all directed by instinct to live in 
this vicinity, and about the pastures and habitations of his flocks 
and herds. A single species of thenr^ might frequently be suffi- 
cient to protect the cattle from the insects which infest them 
through the Summer. 

There is in the North a gadfly, called Kourbma by the Lap- 
landers, and by the Learned, cestru& rangiferinus^ which tor- 
ments the domestic rein-deer to such a degree as to force them 
in agony to the mountains, and sometimes actually plagues them 
to death, by depositing it's eggs in the skin of the animal. Ma- 
ny dissertations have, as the custom js, been composed on this 
subject, but no remedy for the evil has been proposed. I am 
convinced there must be birds in Lapland which would deliver 
the rein-deer from this formidable insect, did not the Laplan- 
ders terrify them away by the noise of their fowling-pieces. 
These arms of civilized Nations have overspread with barba- 
rism all our plains. The birds, destined to embellish the habi- 
tation of Man, withdraw from it, or approach with timidity and 
mistrust. The sound of musquetiy ought to be prohibited at 
least around the haunts of the hantiless cattle. When the birds 
are not scared away by the fowler they follow their instincts. 

I have frequently seen in the Isle of France a species of star- 
ling, called martin, imported thither from India, perch famili- 
arly on the back and horns of the oxen to pick them clean. To 
this bird that island stands indebted at the present day for the 
destruction of the locusts, which in former times committed 
such ravages upon it. In those of our European rural scenes 
which still exhibit, on the part of Man, some degree of hospi- 
tality toward the innocent warblers, he has the pleasure of see- 
ing the stork build her nest on the ridge of his house, the swal- 
low flutter about in his apartments, and the wagtail, along the 
bank of the river, frisk around his sheep to protect them from 
the gnats. 

The foundation of all this variety of pleasant and useful 
knowledge is laid in -the study of plants. Each of them is the 



STUDY XI. 155 

ibcus of the life of animals, the species of which there collect 
in a point as the rays of a circle at their centre. 

As soon as the Sun, arrived in his annual progression at the 
sign of the Ram, has given the signal of Spring to our Hemis- 
phere, the rainy and warm wind of the South takes it's depar- 
ture from Africa, swells the Seas, elevates the rivers above their 
banks, so that they inundate the adjacent plains, and fatten them 
with their fertilizing slime ; and levels in the forests the aged 
trees, the decayed trunks, and every thing that presents an ob- 
stacle to future vegetation. It melts the snows which cover 
our fields, and forcing it's way to the very Pole, it breaks to 
pieces and dissolves the enormous masses of ice which Winter 
had there accumulated. When this revolution, known all over 
the Globe by the name of the equinoctial gale, has taken place 
in the month of March, the Sun revolves night and day around 
our Pole, so that there is not a single point in the whole nor- 
thern Hemisphere that can escape his heat. 

Every step he advances in his course through the Heavens a 
new plant makes it's appearance on the Earth. Each of them 
arises in succession, and occupies it's proper station at the hour 
assigned to it ; at one and the same instant it receives the light 
in it's flowers and the dew of Heaven on it's foliage. In pro- 
portion to it's progress in growth, the different insect-tribes 
which thence derive their nourishment likewise display their 
existence, and unfold their characters. At this epocha too each 
species of bird resorts to the species of plant with which she is 
acquainted, there to build her nest, and to feed her young with 
the animal prey which it presents to her, to supply the want of 
the seeds which it has not as yet produced. We presently be- 
hold the tribes of birds of passage flock thither in quest of the 
portion which Nature has provided for them likewise. First 
comes the swallow to preserve our habitations from the vermin, 
by planting her nest around us. The quail forsakes Africa, 
and grazing the billows of the Mediterranean in troops innume- 
rable, is scattered over the boundless meadows of the Ukraine. 
The heathcock pursues his course northward as far as Lapland. 
The Avild ducks and geese, the silvery swans, forming long tri- 
angular squadrons in the air, advance to the ver}^ islands adja- 
cent to the Pole. The stork, in former times adored in Egypt^ 
which she abandons, crosses over Europ<^, halting here and 



156 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

there to take repose, even in great cities, on the roofs of the 
houses of hospitable Germany. All these birds feed their young- 
on the insects and reptiles which the newly expanded plants 
have fostered into life. 

Then too it is that the fishes issue in legions from the nor- 
thern abysses of the Ocean, allured to the mouths of rivers by 
clouds of insects, which are confined entirely to their waters, 
or expand into life along their banks. They stem the watery 
current in shoals, and advance, skipping and springing, up to the 
very sources of the stream ; others, as the north-capers, suffer 
themselves to be swept Into the general current of the Atlantic 
Ocean, and appear in form of a ship's bottom on the coasts of 
Brasil, and on those of Guinea. 

Quadrupeds themselves likewise then undertake long pere- 
grinations. Some proceed from the South to the North, with 
the Sun ; others from East to West. There are some which 
coast along the rugged chains of mountains ; others follow the 
courses of rivers which have never been navigated. Length- 
ened columns of black cattle pasture in America, along the banks 
of the Mechassipi, which they cause to resound with their bel- 
lowing. Numerous squadrons of horses traverse the rivers 
and the deserts of Tartary ; and wild sheep stray bleating 
amidst it's vast solitudes. These flocks have neither overseer 
nor shepherd to guide them through the desert, to the music of 
the pipe : but the expansion of herbage which they know, de- 
termines the moment of their depaxture, and the limits of their 
progress. It is then that each animal inhabits his natural 
situation, and reposes under the shade of the vegetable of his 
fathers. It is then that the chains of harmony exert all their 
force, and that all, being animated by consonances, or by con- 
trasts, the air, the waters, the forests, and the rocks, seem to 
he vocal, to be impassioned, to be transported with delight. 

But this vast concert can be comprehended by celestial In- 
telligences only. To Man it is sufficient, in order to study 
Nature with advantage, that he limit his researches to the 
study of one single vegetable. It would be necessary for this 
purpose to make choice of an aged tree in some solitary situation. 
From the characters which have been indicated, a judgment 
might easily be formed whether it be in it's natural position j 
but still better from, it's beauty, and from the accessories which 



STUDY XI. 157 

Nature unifonnly places in connection with it, where the hand 
of Man has not interposed to derange the operations. The 
student woidd first observe it's elementary relations, and the 
striking characters which distinguish the different species of the 
same genus, some of which grow at the sources of rivers, and 
others at tlie place of their discharge iuto the Ocean. He would 
afterwards examine it's convolvuluses, it's mosses, it's mistletoes 
it's scolopendrae, the mushrooms of it's roots, nay the very 
grasses which grow under it's shade. He would perceive in 
each of it's vegetables new elementary relations, adapted to the 
places which they occupy, and to the tree which sustains or shel- 
ters them. 

His attention might next be directed to the various species 
of animals which resort to it as a habitation, and he would pre- 
sently be convinced, that from the snail up to the squirrel, there 
is not a single one but what has determinate and characteristic 
relations to the dependencies of it's vegetation. 

If the tree in question were growing in a forest, itself too of 
considerable antiquity, it would most probably have in it's vici- 
nity the tree which Nature designed should contrast with it in 
the same site, as for example the birch and the fir. It is farther 
probable that the accessory vegetables and animals of this last, 
would in like manner form a contrast with those of the first. 
These two spheres of observation would mutually illuminate each 
other, and would diffuse the clearest light over the manners of 
the animals which frequent them. We should then have a 
complete chapter of that immense and sublime History of Na- 
ture, the alphabet of which is hitherto unknown to us. 

I am fully convinced that without fatigue, and almost without 
any trouble, discoveries the most curious might be made. 
Were we to restrict our enquiries but to one single comparti- 
mcnt, we should discover a multitude of the most enchanting 
harmonies. In order to enjoy some imperfect sketches of this 
kind we must have recourse to travellers. Our Ornithologists 
fettered by methods and system, only think of swelling their 
catalogue, and distinguish nothing in birds save the feet and the 
bill. It is not in the nests that they observe them, but in hunt- 
ing, and in their pouch. They even consider the colours of 
their plumage as accidents. It was not by chance however that 
Nature, on the shores of Brasil, bestowed a beautiful carnation 



158 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

colour, with a border of black, on the extremity of the wings of 
the Ouara^ a species of curlew inhabiting the sea-green foliage 
of the paletuvier^ which grows in the bosom of the waves, and 
bears no apparent flowers. The savia^ another bird of the same 
climate, is yellow over the belly, with the rest of the plumago 
gray. It is about the size of a sparrow, and perches on the 
pepper-plant, the flowers of which have no lustre, but whose 
grains are eaten by this bird, and re-sown wherever she takes 
her flight. 

To those correspondences must be added such as pertain to 
site, which itself derives so much beauty from the overshadow- 
ing vegetable. These harmonies are detailed by Father Francis 
d"* Abbeville. If credit is to be given to the History of Voyages 
by the Abbe Prevost^ there is on the banks of the Senegal a flu- 
viatic tree, the leaves of which are thorny, and the branches 
pendent, in form of an arch. It serves as a habitation to birds 
called kurbalos, or fishers, of the size of a sparrow, variously 
coloured. Their bill is very long, and armed with little teeth 
resembling a saw. They build a nest of the bulk of a pear, 
composed of earth, feathers, straw, moss, and attach it to a long 
thread, suspended from the extremity of the branches which 
project over the river, in order to secure it from the serpents 
and monkeys, which sometimes contrive to clamber up after 
them. You would take those nests, at a little distance, for the 
fruit of the tree : and some of those trees contain to the number 
of a thousand. You perceive the kurbalos fluttering incessandy 
along the water, and entering into their nests with a motion that 
dazzles the eyes. 

According to Father Charlevoix^ there grows in Virginia, on 
the brink of the lakes, a laurel-leafed yew-tree which pushes se- 
veral stems from it's root, the branches of which embrace all the 
surrounding trees, and climb to the height of more than sixteen 
feet. They form in Summer an impenetrable shade, and in 
Winter a temperate retreat for the birds. It's flowers have no 
very striking appearance, and it's fruit grows in round clusters, 
loaded with black grains. This yew has for it's principal in- 
habitant a very beautiful kind of jay. The head of that bird is 
adorned with a long black crest which it can erect at pleasure. 
It's back is of a deep purple. The wings are black on the in- 
side, blue externally, and white at the extremities, with white 



STUDY XL 159 

stripes across every feather. It's tail is blue and marked with 
the same stripes as the wings ; and it's cry is far from being 
disagreeable. 

There are birds which lodge not upon their favourite plant, 
but opposite to it. Such is the colibri, which frequently nestles, 
in the Antilles Islands, on the straw which thatches a cottage, 
in order to live under the protection of Man. In our climates, 
the nightingale constructs his nest under covert of a bush, 
choosing in preference such situations as repeat an echo, and 
carefully observing to expose it to the morning sun. Having 
employed such precautions, he takes his station in the vicinity, 
against the trunk of a tree ; and there, confounded with the co- 
lour of it's bark, and motionless, he becomes invisible. But he 
presently animates the obscure retreat which he has chosen by 
the divine melody of his song, and effaces all the brilliancy of 
plumage by the charms of his music. 

But whatever enchantment may be diffused by plants and 
animals over the situations which have been assigned to them 
by Nature, I never can consider a landscape as possessing all 
it's beauty unless I perceive in it at least one little hut. The 
habitation of Man confers on every species of vegetable a new 
degree of interest or of majesty. Nothing more is necessary in 
many cases than a tree, in order to characterize in a country the 
wants of a whole Nation, and the care of Providence. I love 
to see the family of an Arab under the date-tree of the desert, 
and the boat of an islander of the Maldivias loaded with cocoa- 
nuts, under the cocoa-trees of their gravelly strands. The ho- 
vel of a poor unindustrious Negro gives me pleasure, under the 
shade of a great gourd-plant, which exhibits his complete set of 
household furniture. Our magnificent hotels in great cities arc 
the habitations of tradesmen merely : in the country, they arc 
transformed into castles, palaces, temples. The long avenues 
which announce them confound themselves with those which 
form tiie communication of empires. This is not in truth wliat 
I consider as most interesting in rural scenery.- To the most 
ostentatious exhibition of splendor I have frequently preferred 
the view of a little hamlet of fishermen, built by the side of a 
river. With inexpi-essible delight have I sometimes reposed 
under the shade of the willows and of the poplars, on whicl- 
were suspended the bow-nets composed of their own brandies. 



160 STUDIES OF NATURK; 

I shall now proceed, in my usual superficial manner, to take 
a vapid glance of the harmonies of plants with man ; and that I 
may introduce at least something of order into a subject so rich 
in matter, I shall farther divide those harmonies, relatively to 
Man himself, into elementary^ into vegetable^ into animal., and 
into human properly so called, or alimentary, 

HUMAN HARMONIES OF PLANTS. 

Elementary Harmonies of Plants relatively to Man, 

If we consider the vegetable Order under the simple relations 
of strength and magnitude, we shall find it divided, with a suf- 
ficient degree of generality, into three great classes, namely, 
into herbs, into shrubs, and into trees. It is to be remarked, in 
the first place, that herbs are of a substance pliant and soft. 
Had they been ligneous and hard, like the young boughs of 
trees, to which it might appear they ought naturally to have a 
resemblance, as they grow on the same soil, the greatest part of 
the Earth would have been inaccessible to the foot of Man, till 
the fire or the hatchet had cleared the way for him. It was 
riot by chance therefore that so many grasses, mosses, and herbs 
assumed a soft and yielding texture, nor from want of nourish- 
ment, or of the means of expansion ; for some of those herbs 
rise to a very great height, such as the banana of India, and se- 
veral ferulaceous plants of our own climates, which attain the 
stature of a little tree. 

On the other hand, there are ligneous shrubs which do not 
exceed the generality of herbs in height ; but they grow for the 
most part on rugged and steep places, affording to Man the 
means of clambering up with facility, for they shoot out of the 
very clefts of the rocks. But as there are rocks which have no 
clefts, and which present the perpendicularity of a wall, there 
are likewise creeping plants which take root at their bases, and 
^vhich, fixing themselves to their sides, rise in close cohesion to 
a height surpassing that of many of the tallest trees : such are 
the ivy, the virgin-vine, and a great number of the lianne tribe, 
which mantle along the rocks of southern regions. 

Were the Earth covered with vegetables of this sort, it would 
be impossible to walk over it. It is very remarkable that when 
uninhabited islands were discovered, some were found clothed 



STUDY XI. 161 

.ivith forests, as the Island of Madeira ; others in which there 
was nothing but herbage and rushes, as the Malouine Islands, 
at the entrance of Magellan's Strait ; others carpeted with mos- 
ses simply, such as several little isles on the coasts of Spitzber- 
gen ; others, in great number, on which these several vegeta- 
bles were blended ; but I do not know of a single one which 
was found to contain only shrubbery and liannes. Nature has 
placed this class only on places not easily to be scaled, in order 
to facilitate access to Man. It may be affirmed, that no preci- 
pice presents a surface so perpendicular as to be insurmounta- 
ble with their assistance. Thus aided the ancient Gauls were on 
the point of storming the capitol. 

As to trees, though they are replenished with a vegetative 
force which elevates them to a very considerable height, the 
greater part of them do not send out their first branches but at 
a certain distance from the ground. So that though they form, 
when they have attained a certain degree of elevation, an inter- 
texture impenetrable to the Sun, which they extend to a great 
distance around, they leave however about their roots, avenues 
sufficient to render them accessible, so that tlie forests may be 
traversed with ease and expedition. 

Such then are the general dispositions of vegetables upon the 
Earth relatively to the occasion which Man had to range over 
it. The herbage serves as a carpet to his feet ; the shrubber)' 
as a scaling ladder to his hands ; and the trees are so many pa- 
rasols over his head. Nature, after having established those 
proportions between them, has distributed them in all the va- 
rieties of situation, by bestowing on them, abstractly from their 
particular relations to the elements, and to the animal creation, 
qualities the best adapted to minister to the necessities of Man, 
and to compensate in his fiivour the inconveniences of climate. 

Though this manner of studying her Works be now held in 
contempt by most Naturalists, to it however shall our research- 
es be limited. We have just been considering plants according to 
iheir shape and size, after the manner of gardeners ; wt pro- 
ceed farther to examine them as is done by the wood-feller, the 
huntsman, the carpenter, the fisherman, the shepherd, the sai- 
lor, nay, the nosegay-maker. It is of small importance whether 
wc be learned, provided we cease not to be men. 

Vol. II. X 



163 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

It IS in the countries of the North, and on the buuimit ot 
cold mountains, that the pine grows, and the fir and the cedar, 
and most part of resinous trees, which shelter man from the 
snows by the closeness of their foliage, and which furnish him 
during the Winter season with torches^^and fuel for his fire-side. 
It is very remarkable that the leaves of those ever-green trees 
are filiform, and extremely adapted by this configuration, which 
possesses the farther advantage of reverberating the heat like 
the hair of animals, for resistance to the impetuosity of the 
winds that beat with peculiar violence on elevated situations. 
The Swedish Naturalists have observed that the fattest pines 
are to be found on the dryest and most sandy regions of Nor- 
way. The larch, which takes equal pleasure in the cold moun- 
tains, has a very resinous trunk, 

Mathiola, in his useful commentary on Dioscorides^ inform* 
us, that there is no substance more proper than the charcoal of 
those trees for promptly' melting the iron minerals, in the vici- 
nity of which they peculiai-ly thrive. They are besides loaded 
with mosses, some species of which catch fire from the slighest 
spark. He relates, that being obliged on a certain occasion to 
pass the night in the lofty mountains of the Strait of Trento, 
where he was botanizing, he found there a great quantity of 
larcl>es {/arix) bearded all over, to use his own expression, and 
completely whitened with moss. The Shepherds of the place 
willing to amuse him, set fire to the mosses of some of those 
trees, which was immediately communicated with the rapidity 
of gunpowder touched with the match. Amidst the obscurity 
of the night, the flame and the sparks seemed to ascend up to 
the veiy Heavens. They diffused, as they burnt, a very agree- 
able perfume. He farther remarks, that the best agaricum 
grows upon the larch, and that the arque-busiers of his time 
made use of it for keeping up fire, and for making matches. 
Thus Nature, in crowning the summit of cold and ferruginous 
mountains with those vast vegetable torches, has placed the 
match in their branches, the tinder at their foot, and the steel 
at their roots. 

To the South, on the contrary, trees present in their foliage, 
fans, umbrellas, parasols. The latanier carries each of it's 
leaves painted as a fan, attached to a long tail, and similar, 
when completely displayed, to a radiating Sun of verdure,. 



STUDY XL 163 

Two of those trees are to be seen in the Royal Garden. The 
leaf of the banana resembles a long and broad girdle, -which un- 
doubtedly procured for it the name of Adam's fig-tree. The 
magnitude of the leaves of several species of trees increases in 
proportion as we approach the Line. That of the cocoa- tree 
with double fruit, of the Schelles islands, is from twelve to fif- 
teen feet long, and from seven to eight broad. A single one 
is sufficient to cover a numerous family. One of those leaves 
is likewise to be seen in the Royal Cabinet of Natural History* 
That of the talipot of the Island of Ceylon is of nearly the 
same size. 

The interesting and unfortunate Robert Knox^ who has given 
the best account of Ceylon which I am acquainted with, tells 
us, that one of the leaves of the talipot is capable of covering 
from fifteen to twenty persons. When it is dry, continues he, 
it is at once strong and pliant, so that you may fold and unfold 
it with pleasure, being naturally painted like a fan. In this 
state it is not bigger than a man's arm, and extremely light. 
The natives cut it into triangles, though it is naturally round, 
and each of them carries one of those sections over his head, 
liolding the angular part before, in his hand, to open for him- 
self a passage through the bushes. The soldiers employ this 
leaf as a covering to their tents. He considers it, and with 
good reason, as one of the greatest blessings of Providence, in a 
country bm-nt up by the Sun, and inundated by the rains for six 
months of the year. 

Nature has provided in those climates parasols for whole vil- 
lages ; for the fig-tree, denominated in India the fig-tree of the 
Banians, a drawing of which may be seen in Tavernier^ and in 
several other travellers, grows on the very burning sand of the 
sea-shore, throwing from the extremity of it's branches a m'ilti- 
tude of shoots, which drop to the ground, there take root, and 
ibrm around the principal trunk, a great number of covered ar- 
cades, whose shade is impervious to the rays of the San.* 

* 'I'ho folVovving is extracted from my Elements of Botany, pniUed at Phi- 
ladc'.iyliia, in 1803. " Tlic leaves of certain vegetables acquire a very great 
size. It is curioiis, too, to remark that it is only in tlie hot or hottest portions 
uf tlic fflobc, that we find the hsrjjest leaves. 1 belieVe that tiie cold climates, 
and even those which are. moderatel)' warm, do not iiirnish us witli any iiu 
ttunces of very lur^'-e leiived trees. It does seem, ti-iat t^ majfiiitudt; of the 



164 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

In our temperate climates we experience a similar benevo' 
lence on the part of Nature. In the warm and thirsty season, 
she bestows upon us a variety of fruits replenished with the 
most refreshing juices, such as cherries, peaches, melons ; and 
as Winter approaches, those which warm and comfort by their 
oils, such as the almond and the walnut. Certain Naturalists 
have considered even the ligneous shells of these fruits as a 
preservative against the cold of the gloomy season ; but these 
are, as we have seen, the means of floating and of navigating. 
Nature employs others, with which we are not acquainted, for 
preserving the substances of fruits from the impressions of the 
air. For example she preserves through the whole Winter 
many species of apples and pears, which have no other cover- 
ing than a pellicle so very thin that it is impossible to determine 
how fine it is. 

Natvu-e has placed other vegetables in humid and dry situa- 
tions, the qualities of which are inexplicable on the principles 
of our Physics, but which admirably harmonize with the ne- 
cessities of the men who inhabit those places. Along the wa- 
ter's side grow the plants and the trees which are the dryest, 
the lightest, and consequently the best adapted to the purpose 
of crossing the stream. Such are reeds which are hollow, and 
rushes which are filled with an inflammable marrow. It re- 
quires but a very moderate bundle of rushes to bear the weight 
of a very heavy man upon the water. On the banks of the lakes 
of the North are produced those enormous birch-trees, the bark 
of a single one of which is sufficient to form a large canoe. 

leaves of cerLain species of tree increases as we approach the line. * In the 
cold climates, we find no Palms, nor any other trees, with leaves so large as 
to be capable of sheltering' whole families from the inclemency of the wea- 
ther. Why should we doubt (when a vast system of benevolence is so con- 
spicuous in "the earth) that in giving to the vegetables of hot climates such ca- 
pacious leaves, the Author of the universe had consulted the health, the com- 
forts, and the pleasures cf the human inhabitants, destined to live beneath the 
scorching raj's of the sun ? But man is not the only animal that derives ad- 
vantages from the large-spreading leaves of tropical trees. The birds and 
many other animals arc equally benefited. Destitute of this shelter, many 
species would be nearly incapable of subsisting m the countries in which they 
reside ; and, in particular, they would be incapable (unless their instinctive 
operations were essentially varied) of rearing their \ouug." Part l.p. 62. 

B. S. B- 
' " The cmiable £ernardi>i De Saint-Pierre.'' 



STUDY XI. 1G.5 

This bark is similar to leather in pliancy, and so incorruptible 
by humidity, that in Russia I have seen some of it extracted 
from under the earth which covered powder magazines, per- 
fectly sound, though it had lain there from the time of Peter the 
Great. 

If we may depend on the testimony of Pliny and oi Plutarch^ 
there were found at Rome, four hundred years after the death 
of Nwna^ the books which that great King had commanded to 
be deposited with his body in the tomb. The body was en- 
tirely consumed ; but the books which treated of Philosophy and 
Religion, were in such a state of preservation, that PetUius^ the 
Pretor, undertook to read them by command of the Senate. On 
the report which he made respecting their contents, they were 
ordered to be burnt. They were written on the bark of the 
birch-tree. This bark consists of an accumulation of ten or 
twelve sheets, white and thin like paper, the place of which it 
supplied to the ancients. 

Nature presents to Man different trajectiles on different shores. 
She has planted on the banks of the rivers of India the bamboo, 
an enormous reed which rises there sometimes to the height of 
sixty feet, and swells to the size of a man's thigh. The part 
comprehended between two of it's joints is sufficient to bear a 
man up on the water. The Indian places himself upon it a- 
straddle, and so crosses a river, swimming along by the motion 
of his feet. The Dutch Navigator, yohn Hugo de Linschoten, 
an author of reputation, assures us that the crocodile never 
touches persons who are passing rivers in this manner, thougk 
he frequently attacks canoes, and even the boats of Europeans. 
Linschoten ascribes the abstinence of this voracious animal to an 
antipathy which he has to that species of reed. 

Francis Pyrard^ another traveller, who has observed Nature 
with a careful eye, informs us that there grows on the shores of 
the Maldavia Islands a tree called candou, the wood of which is 
so light that it serves as cork for the fishermen,* I think I was 
once possessed of a log of wood of that species. It was stiip- 
ped of the bark, perfectly white, of the thickness of my arm, 
about six feet long, and so light that I could easily lift it by m\ 
finger and thumb. In these same islands, and on the same 

• Sec Ptfrard's Voyage to the Maldavia Islands, page 38, 



166 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

strands, rises the cocoa-tree, which there attains a higher de- 
gree of beauty than any where else in the World. Thus the 
tree of all others most useful to mariners grows on the shores of 
the Seas most frequented by men of that description. All the 
world knows that the vessel is there constructed of it's timber, 
that it's leaves are formed into sails, that the trunk serves for 
a mast, that the hempen substance called caira^ which surrounds 
it's fruit, is wrought into cordage, and when the whole is ready 
for sea, a cargo of cocoa-nuts is the lading. It is farther re- 
markable that the cocoa-nut, before it comes to perfect matu- 
rity, contains a liquor which is an excellent antiscorbutic. 

Is it not then a miracle of Nature, that this fruit, replenished 
with such milk, should come to perfection on the barren strand, 
and within the washing of the briny Deep ? Nay it is only on 
the brink of the Sea that the tree which bears it arrives at it's 
highest beauty ; for few are to be seen in the interior of countries. 

Nature has placed a palm-tree of the same family, but of 
different species, on the summit of the mountains of the same cli- 
mates : it is the palmist. The stem of this tree is sometimes 
above a hundred feet high, it is perfectly straight, and bears on 
it's summit all the foliage which it has, a bunch of palms, from 
the midst of which issues a long roll of painted leaves resemb- 
ling the staff of a lance. This roll contains, in a sort of coriac- 
eous sheath, leaves ready to shoot, which are very good for eat- 
ing before their expansion. The trunk of the palmist is woody 
only at the circumference, and it is so hard as to resist the edge 
of the best tempered hatchet. It may be cleft with the utmost 
ease from end to end, and is filled inwardly with a spongy sub- 
stance which may be easily separated. Thus prepared it ser\'es 
to form, for conducting waters frequently diverted from their 
course by the rocks which are at the summit of mountains, tubes 
which are not corruptible by humidity. Thus the palm-tree 
gives to the inhabitants of those regions the means of construct- 
ing aqueducts at the source of rivers, and ships at the place of 
their discharge. 

Other species of trees render them the same services in other 
situations. On the shores of the Antilles Islands grows the acajou^ 
there called, but improperly, the cedar, on account of it's incor- 
ruptibility. It arrives at such a prodigious size, that out of one 
log of it tliey make a boat capable of carrving so many as forty 



STUDY XL 167 

men.* This tree possesses another quality, which in the judg- 
ment of the best observers ought to render it invaluable for the 
marine service ; namely this, it is the only one of those shores 
which is never attacked by the sea-worm, an insect so formi- 
dable to every other species of timber which floats in the seas 
of that region, as to devour whole squadrons in a very little 
time, and in order to preserve them, lays us under the necessity 
for many years past, of sheathing their bottoms with copper. 
But this beautiful tree has found enemies more dreadful than 
the worm, in the European inhabitants of those Islands, who 
have almost extirpated the whole race of them. 

The manner in which Providence has contrived a supply for 
the thirst of Man in sultry places is no less worthy of admira- 
tion. Nature has placed amidst the burning sands of Africa, a 
plant whose leaf, twisted round like a cruet, is always filled with 
a large glassful! of fresh-water ; the gullet of this cruet is shut 
by the extremity of the leaf itself, so as to prevent the water 
from evaporating. She has planted on some parched districts 
of the same country a great tree, called by the Negroes Boa^ 
the trunk of which, of a prodigious bulk, is naturally hollowed 
like a cistern. In the rainy season it receives it's fill of water, 
which continues fresh and cool in the greatest heats, by means 
of the tufted foliage which crowns it's summit. Finally, she 
has placed vegetable fountains on the parched rocks of the An- 
tilles. There is commonly found on them a lianne, called thf- 
water lianne, so full of sap that if you cut a single branch of it, 
as much water is immediately discharged as a man can drink af 
a draught : it is perfectly pure and limpid. 

In the swamps of the Bay of Campeachy travellers find relief 
of another kind. Those swamps, on a level with the Sea, aix 
almost entirely inundated in the rainy season, and become so 
parched on the return of dry weather, that many huntsmen who 
happen to miss their way in the forests with which the}'^ are co- 
vered, actually perish with thirst. The celebrated traveller 
Dampier relates that he several times escaped this calamity, b} 
means of a very extraordinary species of vegetation, which had 
been pointed out to him on the trunk of a kind of pine verj' 
common there ; it resembles a packet of leaves piled one over 

* Consult Fathers Lnhat and Du Terire. 



168 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

another in tiers ; and on account of it's form, and of the tree 
on which it grows, he calls it the pine-apple. This apple is full 
of water, so that on piercing it at the basis with a knife, there 
immediately flows from it a good pint of very clear and whole- 
some water. Father du Tertre informs us that he has several 
times found a similar refreshment in the leaves, rounded like a 
cornet, of a species of balizier, which grows on the sandy plains 
of Guadaloupe. I have been assured by many of our sports- 
men, that nothing was more proper for the quenching of thirst 
than the leaves of the mistletoe, which grows on many trees. 

Such are, in part, the precautions employed by Providence 
for compensating, in favour of Man, the inconveniences of every 
climate ; by opposing to the qualities of the elements contrary 
qualities in vegetables. I shall pursue them no farther, for I 
believe the subject to be inexhaustible. I am persuaded that 
every Latitude, and everv'^ season, has it's own, which are ap-, 
propriated to it, and that every parallel varies them in every 
degree of Longitude. 

Vegetable Harmonies cf Plants xv'ith Man. 

Were we now to examine the vegetable relations of plants to 
Man, we should find them to be infinite in number ; they are 
the perpetual sources of our arts, of our manufactures, of our 
commerce, and of our enjoyments ; but in our usual way, we 
shall just run over a few of their natural and direct relations, 
vrith which Man has intermingled nothing of his own. 

To begin with their perfumes, Man appears to me the only 
being endowed with sensibility who is affected by these. Ani- 
mals, it is granted, and especially bees and butterflies, have cer- 
tain plants proper to themselves, which attract or repel them by 
their emanations ; but these affections seem to be connected 
with their necessities. Man alone is sensible to the perfume 
and lustre of flowers, independently of all animal appetite. The 
dog himself, who from his domestic habits assumes so power- 
ful a tincture of the manners and of the tastes of Man, appears 
totally insensible to that enjoyment. The impression which 
flowers make upon us seems connected with some moral affec- 
tion ; for there are some which enliven us, whereas others dis- 
pose us to melancholy, without our being able to assign any 



STUDY XI. 169 

other reasons for it than those which I have endeavoured to 
unfold in examining some general Laws of Nature. 

Instead of distinguishing them as yellow, red, blue, violet, 
we might divide them into gay, into serious, into melancholy : 
their character is so expressive, that lovers in the East employ 
their shades to describe the different degrees of their passion. 
Nature makes frequent use of it relatively to us with the same 
intention. When she wants to keep us at a distance from a 
marshy and unwholesome place, she scatters there poisonous 
plants, which present dingy colours and offensive smells. There 
is a species of arum which grows in the morasses of Magellan's 
Strait, whose flower exhibits the appearance of an ulcer, and 
exhales an odour so strong of putrid flesh, that the flesh-fly re- 
sorts to it to deposit her eggs. 

But the number of fetid plants is of no great extent. The 
Earth is clothed with flowers which for the most part have very 
pleasing hues and perfumes. I wish time would permit me to 
say something of the simple aggregation of flowers. This sub- 
ject is so vast and so rich, that I hesitate not to affirm that it 
presents ample enployment for the most famous Botanist in 
Europe, through his whole life, by discovering to him every day 
some new beauty, and that without removing above a league 
from his own habitation. All the art with which jewellers dis- 
pose their gems disappears before that which Nature displays in 
the assortment of flowers. 

I shewed y. J. Rousseau the flowers of different trefoils 
which I had picked up, as I was walking with him : some of 
them were disposed in crowns, in half crowns, in ears, in sheaves 
Avith colours endlessly varied. While they were yet on their 
stems they had besides other aggregations, with the plants which 
were frequently opposed to them, in colours and in forms. I 
asked him whether Botanists gave themselves any trouble about 
those harmonies : he told me no ; but that he had advised a 
young Painter of Lyons to learn Botany, with a particular view 
to study in it's forms and the assemblages of flowers ; and that 
he had thus become one of the most celebrated pattern-drawers 
in Europe. On this subject I quoted to him a passage from 
Pliny with which he was highly delighted : it relates to a 
Painter of Sicyon, named Paiisias^ who learned by means of 
this study to paint flowers at least as well as he of Lyons knew 

Vol. XL Y 



170 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

> 

how to draw them ; he had in truth a master as skilful as Na- 
ture herself, or rather one and the same with her, namely Love. 

I shall give this story in the simplicity of style of the old 
Translator of Flimj, in order to preserve all it's vivacity.* " In 
" his youth he became enamoured of a nosegay girl of the same 
*' city with himself; her name was Glycera ; she was very pretty, 
" and had a singularly elegant taste in assorting a thousand diffe- 
" rent ways the flowers of nosegays and chaplets : so that Pau- 
" sias, copying after Nature the chaplets and nosegays of his 
*' mistress, rendered himself at length perfect in that art. Last 
*' of all, he painted her seated in the attitude of composing a 
" a chaplet of flowers ; and this picture is considered as his 
** great master-piece : he called it Stephana- Plocas^ the garland 
*' weaver, because Glycera had no other means of relieving the 
" pressure of poverty, but making and selling garlands and 
*' nosegays. And it is confidently affirmed that I^. Lucullus 
" gave to Diony silts of Athens two talents, for a simple copy of 
*' this picture." 

This anecdote must have been singularly pleasing to Pliny^ 
for he has repeated it in another place :f " Those of Pelepone- 
" BUS, " says he, " were the first who regulated the colours and 
" smells of the flowers of which chaplets were composed. It 
'' was however originally the invention of Pausias^ a Painter, 
" and of a nosegay-girl named Glycera with whom he was vio- 
*' lently in love ; whence he was engaged to imitate to the life 
" the chaplets and nosegays which she composed. But the girl 
*' varied in so many ways the arrangement of the flowers of her 
" chaplets, in order to teize and employ her lover, that it affor- 
" ded very high amusement to behold the skill of the Painter 
" Pausiasy and the natural production of Glycera^ striving for 
" the superiority." 

Ancient Nature is still better acquainted with the subject 
than is the young Glycera, As it is impossible to follow her in 
her infinite variety, we shall make at least one observation re- 
specting her regularity. It is this, that there is not any one 
odoriferous flower but what grows at the foot of Man, or at least 
within reach of his hand. All those of this description are 

* PUnxfa Natural History, book xxxv. cliap 2 
I Idem, book xxi. chap. 2. 



STUDY XI. in 

placed on herbage, or on shrubbery, as the heliotrope, the pink, 
the gilly-flower, the violet, the rose, the lilach. Nothing simi- 
lar to these grows on the lofty trees of our forests ; and if some 
flowers of brilliant appearance are displayed on certain tall trees 
of foreign countries, such as the tulip-tree, and the great ches- 
nut of India, they have no very pleasant smell. Some trees of 
India, it is admitted, as the spice-bearing plants, are perfumed 
all over ; but their flowers are not very showy, and do not par- 
take of the odour of their leaves. The flowers of the cinnamon- 
tree smell like human excrement : this I know to be true by 
experience ; if however the trees which were shewed to me in 
the Isle of France, in a plantation belonging to Mr. MagoUy 
were the real cinnamon. The beautiful and fragrant flower of 
the magnolia grows on the lower part of the plant. Besides the 
laurel which bears it is, as well as spice-trees, a plant of no 
great elevation. 

It is possible I may be mistaken* in some of my observations ; 
but supposing them multiplied with respect to the same object, 
and attested by persons of veracity and exempted from the spi- 
rit of system, I am able to deduce general consequences from 
them which ought not to be a matter of indiffierence to the hap*^ 
piness of Mankind, by demonstrating to him the invariable in- 
tentions of benevolence in the Author of Nature. The varie- 
ties of their adaptation reflect mutual light ; the means are dif- 
ferent, but the end is constantly the same. The same goodness 
which has placed the fruit destined for the nourishment of Man 
within reach of his hand, must have likewise disposed his nosc- 

* You are, indeed, mistaken. And it would be an easy task to write a dis- 
sertation to expose the debility of your system in this part of the work. Yet 
even here you preserve your ing'enuity, and proclaim yoiu- holy homage to the 
Creator. For this you can never be too much praised. How many vile-smel- 
ling flowers, spread themselves upon the carpet of tlie earth! IIow many 
pi'ow upon vej^etables not hig'her tlian ourselves ! If it be true that tlie frag- 
rant flowers of the magnolia grow on the lower part of the ti-ee, it is also true 
tliat they grow at a consideraI)le hciglit above the ground, and often far 
beyond tlic reach of man. But lu another species of magnolia, the umbrel- 
la-tree {magnolia tripetala), the flov/ers grow, in great numbers, within the 
the reach of the hand : and tl»e odour of these flowers is at once vile and op- 
pressive. In the Franklinia, as we Americans c::ll it (,X.hc goriLnia pubescens) 
\w liave an ojour much more delicate than that o*' the fine st magnolia : but 
the flower of this noble AmeJ'ican tree, or shrul), ^cems to prefer the higher 
and Icrniinriting branches. — Ji. S R. 



172 ' STUDIES OF NATURE. 

gay with similar attention to his conveniency. It may be here 
remarked, that our fruit-trees are easily scaled, and different in 
this respect from most forest-trees. Farther, all those which 
produce fruits that are soft when in a state of perfect maturity, 
and which would have been liable to be bruised in falling, such 
as the fig, the mulberry, the plumb, the peach, the apricot, pre- 
sent their crop at a small distance from the ground : those, on 
the contrary, which yield hard fruit, njid such as have nothing 
to risk from falling far, carry it aloft, as walnut-trees, chesnuts, 
and cocoas. 

There is no less marvelousness of adaptation in the forms and 
sizes of fruits. Many of them are moulded for the mouth of 
Man, such as cherries and plumbs ; others for his hand, such as 
pears and apples ; others much larger, such a melons, have the 
sub-divisions marked, and seem destined to be a social family 
repast : nay there are some in India, as the jacque, and with 
ourselves the pumpion, large enough to be divided among a 
neighbourhood. Nature appears to have observed the same 
proportions in the various sizes of the fruits destined to the nu- 
triment of Man, as in the magnitude of the leaves which are 
designed to afford him a shade in hot countries ; for of these 
some are contrived to be a shelter for a single person, others 
for a whole family, and others for all the inhabitants of the same 
hamlet. 

I shall not dwell long on the other relations which plants have 
wijh the habitation of Man, from their greatness and their atti- 
tude, though many very curious observations might be suggest- 
ed on that subject. There are few of them but what are capa- 
ble of embellishing his field, his roof, or his wall. I shall only 
remark that the vicinity of Man is beneficial to many plants. 
An anonymous missionary says it is firmly believed by the In- 
dians, that the cocoa-trees which have houses around their roots 
become nivich more beautiful than those where there are none ; 
as if that useful tree took delight in being near the habitation of 
Man. 

Another missionary, a bare-footed Carmelite, called Father 
Philippe^ positively asserts that when the cocoa-tree is planted 
close by houses or huts, it is rendered more fruitful by the 
smoke, by the ashes, and by other circumstances connected with 
a. human dweUing,, so as to produce double the quantity of fruit. 



STUDY XI. 173 

He adds that, for this reason, the places in India which consist 
of palm-plantations are crowded with houses and little cabins ; and 
that the proprietors of those plantations give, at first, a pecuniary 
premium as an inducement to come and live there, together 
with part of the crop when it is reaped. He farther adds, that 
though their fruits, which are very large and hard, frequently 
fall down from the trees when they have attained a state of full 
maturity, either by the gnawing of the rats, or by the violence 
of the winds, there is not a single instance known of any person's 
being hurt by the fall. This appears to me no less extraordi- 
nar)' than it did to him.* 

I might extend the influences of Man to several of our fruit- 
trees, especially to the apple-tree and the vine. I never saw 
finer apple-trees in the Pais de Caux, than those which grow 
around the habitations of die peasantry. It is true that the at- 
tention of the proprietor may have greatly contributed to this. 
I have sometimes felt myself stopped in the streets of Paris, to 
contemplate with delight small vines, the roots of which are in 
the sand, and under the pavement, enriching with their clusters 
the complete front of a guard-house. One of them, I think 
about six or seven yeai-s ago, produced two crops in one year, 
as was announced in the public prints. 

Animal Harmonies of Plants xvith 3Ian, 

But Nature was not satisfied with having given to Man a 
bower, and a cai-pet, loaded with fruit : this would not have 
thoroughly availed him, had she not likewise furnished him, 
in the vegetable order itself, with the means of defence against 
the depredations of wild beasts. In vain would he have watched 
over the preservation of his property through the day, had it 
been exposed to pillage during the night. She has bestowed 
a prickly shrubbery to enclose him round and round. The far- 
ther we advance southward we find the greater variety in the* 
species of these. But on the contrary we see few, if any, of those 
thorny shrubs in the North, where they appear useless, there 
being no orchards to defend. They seem to be produced in 
both Indies for every kind of situation. Though I have been 

• See Voyage to the East, of/?. P. Philippe, a \\hlte friar. Book vii. chap, 
chap- 5, sect. 4. 



174 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

only on the selvage, as I may say, of those countries, I have 
seen there a great number of such shrubs, the study of which 
presented a great variety of curious remarks to a Naturalist. 

Among others, I took particular notice of one in a garden of 
the Isle of France, which to me appeared proper for composing 
a fence impenetrable to the smallest of quadrupeds. It rises 
in form of a stake about the thickness of a man's arm, quite 
straight, without branches, and bearing no verdure except a 
small bunch of leaves on it's summit. It's bark is bristled all 
over with very strong and very sharp prickles. It attains the 
height of seven or eight feet, and grows as thick above as below. 
A series of these shrubs, planted close to each other, would form 
a real palisado, without the smallest interval. The opuntia and 
the taper, so common under the Torrid Zone, are armed with 
prickles so keen that they pierce the soles of your shoes if you 
venture to walk over them. There is not a tiger, or lion, or 
elephant, that dares to approach them. There is another species 
of thorn in the Island of Ceylon, which is employed as a defence 
against Man himself, accustomed as he is to force his away 
through every obstacle. Robert Knox whom I have before 
quoted, informs us, that the avenues of the kingdom of Candy 
in the Island of Ceylon, are blockaded only with faggots of 
those thorns, with which the inhabitants obstruct the passes of 
their mountains. 

Man finds in vegetables protection not only against ferocious 
animals, but against reptiles and insects. Father du Tertre 
tells us that he one day found, in the Island of Guadaloupe, at 
the foot of a tree, a creeping plant, the stem of which presented 
the figure of a serpent. But he was much more surprised on 
perceiving seven or eight snakes lying dead around it. He 
communicated this discovery to a medical man, who by means 
of it performed many wonderful cures, by employing it in the 
cases of persons bitten by those dangerous reptiles. It is gene- 
rally diffused over the rest of the Antilles Islands, in which it 
is known by the name of snake-wood. It is likewise found in 
the East-Indies, yohn Hugo de Linschoten ascribes to it the 
same figure and the same qualities. 

We have in our own climates vegetables which present very 
strange correspondencies and contrasts with reptiles. Piiny tells 
us that serpents are very fond of the juniper and of the fennel, 



STUDY XL 17 b 

but that they are rarely found under the fern, the trefoil, the 
ash-weed, and the rue ; and that betony kills them. Other 
plants, as has already been mentioned, destroy flies, such as 
certain species of the dionsea. Thevenot assures us that in the 
Indies grooms defend their horses from the flies, by rubbing 
them every morning with the flowers of the pumpion. The flea- 
bane, which bears black and shining grains resembling a flea, 
clears the house of that vermin, if Dioscor'ides is to be credited. 
The echium, which has it's seed formed like the head of a vi- 
per, is fatal to those reptiles. It is probable that from such con- 
figurations men, in the earlier ages of the World, discovered 
the relations and the oppositions between plants and animals. I 
am disposed to believe that each genus of insect has it's destruc- 
tive vegetable with which we are unacquainted. In general, all 
vermin shuns perfume. 

Nature has farther given us, in plants, the first patterns of 
nets for hunting and fishing. There grows on certain heaths in 
China a species of ratan so interwoven and so strong, as to 
catch and hold fast the stag, though in full vigour. I myself 
have seen on the sands of the sea-shore in the Isle of France a 
species of lianne, called the false-potatoe, which covers whole 
acres like a vast fishing-net. It is so perfectly adapted to this 
very purpose that the Negroes actually employ it in fishing. 
They form with the stems and foliage of it a very long series of 
cordages, which they cast into the sea ; and having disposed 
them in a chain encompassing a great space on the water, the)- 
draw it ashore by the two extremities. They scarcely ever fail 
to bring out fish,* for the fishes are terrified not only by a net 
which incloses them, but by every unknown substance which 
forms a shade on the surface of the water. By employing an 
industry equally simple, and nearly similar, the inhabitants oi 
the Maldivia Islands carry on fisheries to a prodigious extent, 
employing no other means to decoy the fish into their recepta- 
cles, except a cord floating on the water with the help of sticks. 

Human, or elementary. Harmonies of Plants, 
There is not a single plant on the face of the Earth but whai 
has certain relations to the necessities of Man, and which does 

• S«e Francis Fvrari's Voyajfc lo the Maldivias. 



1 re STUDIES OF NATURE. 

not serve, somewhere or another, for clothing to him, for a shel- 
ter, for pleasure, for medicine, or at least for fuel. Some which 
with us are entirely useless are in high estimation in other parts 
of the World. The Egyptians put up frequent and fervent pray- 
ers for a plentiful crop of nettles, from the seeds of which they 
extract an oil, while the stem furnishes them with a thread 
which they weave into excellent cloth. But those general re- 
lations, being innumerable, I shall confine myself to a few par- 
ticular (jbservations respecting the plants which minister to the 
first of human wants, I mean the food of Man. 

We remark, first, that corn, which serves for the general 
subsistence of the Human Race, is not produced by vegetables 
of a lofty stature, but by simple grasses. The principal sup- 
port of hiunan life is borne on herbage, and is exposed to the 
mercy of eveiy breath of v/ind. There is reason to believe that 
had we ourselves been entrusted with the safety of our crops, 
we should not have failed to place them on great trees ; but in 
this, as well as in every thing else, we are bound to admire Di- 
vine Providence, and to mistrust our own wisdom. Had our 
harvests been the produce of the forests, in the event of these 
being destroyed by war, or set on fire through our own impru- 
dence, or rooted up by the winds, or ravaged by inundations, 
whole ages would have been requisite to re-produce them in 
a country. Farther, the fruits of trees are much more liable to 
drop off than the seeds of grasses. The grasses, as has been 
already observed, carry their flowers in an ear, in many cases 
surmounted by little beards, Avhich do not defend their seeds 
from the birds, as Cicero says, but which serve as so many little 
roofs to shelter them from the water which falls from Heaven. 
The drops of the rain cannot drown them, as they do flowers 
radiated, in disks, in roses, and in umbels, the forms of which 
however are adapted to certain places and to certain seasons ; 
but those of the grasses are adapted to every exposure. 

When they are borne in flowing and drooping plumes^ such 
as those of most grasses of hot countries, they are sheltered 
Irom the heat of the Sun ; and when collected into an ear, as 
those of most grasses of cold countries, they reflect his rays on 
at least one side. Farther, by the suppleness of their stems, 
strengthened by joints from distance to distance, and by their 
filiform and capillaceous leaves, they escape the violence of the 



STUDY XL 177 

winds. Their weakness avails them more than strength does 
the great trees. Like small fortunes, they are re-sown and 
multiplied by the very same tempests which lay waste the vast 
forests. 

They farther resist the effect of excessive dryness by the 
length of their roots, which go in quest of moisture a great way 
under ground ; and though their leaves are narrow, they Rave 
them in such numbers, that they cover the face of the ground 
with plants endlessly multiplied. At the slightest shower you 
see them all rear themselves into the air, at their exti-emities, as 
if they were so many claws. They even resist conflagration, 
which consumes so many trees in the forest. I have seen coun- 
tries in which they every year set the herbage on fire in the 
season of the drought, recover themselves as soon as it rained 
with the most lovely verdure. Though this fire be so active 
as frequently to devour, root and branch, the trees which come 
into contact with it, the roots of herbage sustain no great injury. 

They have moreover the faculty of re-producing themselves 
in three different ways, by shoots which push away from their 
roots, by creeping branches, which they extend to a distance, 
and by grains extremely volatile or indigestible, which the winds 
and the animals scatter about on every side. The greatest part 
of trees, on the contrary, naturally regenerate themselves only 
by their seeds. Add to the general advantages of grasses, an 
astonishing variety of characters in their florification and in 
their attitudes, which renders them more proper than vt- ojptabler, 
of every other class, to grow in every variety of situation. 

It is in this cosmopolite family, if I may be allowed the ex- 
pression, that Nature has placed the principal aliment of Man ; 
for the various species of corns, on which so many human tribes 
subsist, are only so many species of grasses. There is no land 
on the Globe where some kind of corn or another may not be 
raised. Horner^ who had studied Nature so accurately, fre- 
quently characterizes each country by the vegetable peculiar to 
it. One island h« celebrates for it's grapes, another for it's 
olive-trees, a third for it's laurels, and a fourth for it's palms ; 
but to the Earth only he gives the general epithet of Zt/Jt/ca, or 
corn-giving. Nature in fact has formed it for growing in all 
situations, from the Line to the very border of the Frozen 
Ocean. One species is adapted to the humid places of warm 

Vol. IL 7 



1 rs STUDIES OF NATURE. 

countries, as the rice of Asia, which grows in vast abundance, 
in the muddy swamps by the side of the Ganges. Another is 
suited to the marshy grounds of cold countries ; such is a kind 
of false oats which naturally grows on the banks of the rivers 
of North- America, and of which many savage Nations annually 
raise immense crops.'* 

Other kinds of corn thrive wonderfully well on warm and 
dry lands, as the millet and the pannic of Africa, and the maize 
of Brasil. In our climates wheat agrees best with a strong soil, 
rye with a sandy one, buck-wheat with rainy declivities, oats 
with humid plains, barley with stony ground. Barley succeeds 
in the very bosom of the North. I have seen as far up as the 
sixty-first degree of North-Latitude, amidst the rocks of Fin- 
land, crops of this grain as beautiful as ever the plains of Pales- 
tine produced. 

Corn affords an abundant supply to all the necessities of 
Man. With it's straw he enjoys the means of lodging, of co- 
vering, of warming himself, and of feeding his sheep, his cow, 
and his horse ; with it's grain he can compound aliments and 
liquors of every flavour. The northern Nations brew it into 
beer, and distil from it strong waters more potent than those 
from wine ; such are the distillations qf Dantzick. The Chi^ 
nese f extract from rice a wine as agreeable as the best wines 
of Spain. The Brasilians prepare their oiiicou with maize. In 
a word, with oats torrified it is possible to compose a cream 
which shall have the perfume of the vanilla. If we unite with 
these qualities those of the other domestic plants, most of which 
likev/ise grow all over the Earth, we shall find in them the sa- 
vour of the clove, of pepper, of other spiceries ; and without 
going farther than our own gardens, we shall be able to collect 
the delicacies scattered over the rest of the vegetable Creation. 

We may distinguish in the barley and the oats, the elemen- 
tary characters which have been formerly indicated, and whicli 
vary the species of plants of the same genus in a conformity to 
the situations where they are designed to grow. The barley 
destined to dr}- places has leaves broad and open at their base, 

* Consult Fatlier Hennepin, a Franciscan : Cliamplain, and other Traveller;; 
through North-America. 

* Journe}- to China, by Islravd Ll:e. 



STUDY XI. 17H 

which convey the rain-water to the root of the plant. The long 
beards which surmount the coat that is wrapped round the 
grain, are bristled with denticulations, very much adapted to 
the purpose of making them adhere to the hair of animals, and 
of resowing them in lofty and dry situations. The oats, on 
the contrary, destined to humid places, have narrow leaves, ga- 
thered close around the stem, in order to intercept the rain- 
water. The coats of this plant distended, similar to two long 
half-bladders, and not very closely adhering to the grain, ren- 
der it proper for floating, and for crossing the water by the help 
of the winds. But here we are presented with a still more 
wonderful fact, which will confirm what has been advanced re- 
specting the uses of the different parts of plants relatively to the 
elements, and which extends the views of Nature even beyond 
the fructification, though we have considered this as the deter- 
mining character ; it is that barley, in rainy years, degenerates 
into oats, and that oats, in dry seasons, change into barley. 

This observation, related by Pliny,, Galen,, and 3Iathiola,, the 
Commentator of Dioscorides^^ has been confirmed by the ex- 
periments of several modern Naturalists. 3Iathiola indeed al- 
ledges that this transformation of barley is not into oats proper- 
ly so called, which he denominates Bromos,, but into a plant 
which at first sight resembles it, and to which he gives the iiamc 
of jEgilops. This transformation, demonstrated by the fre- 
quently repeated experiments of the husbandmen of his coun- 
try, and by that which the father of Galen made expressly for 
his own satisfaction ; together with that of the flowers of the 
linarium, and of the leaves of many vegetables, are sufficient 
proof that the elementary relations of plants are only secondarv, 
and that animal or human relations are the primarv. Thus Na- 
ture has placed the character of a plant not onl}^ in the form of 
the fruit, but in the substance of that very fruit. 

Hence I presume, that having formed in general of a mealy 
substance the basis of human life, Nature has diflused it over 
all situations, on different species of grasses ; that afterwards, 
intending to add to this certain modifications relative to some 
humours of the human tcmpei-ament, or to some influence of sea- 
son or of climate, she has formed other combinations of it, 

" See JMuthiola ci\ JDiOncd^'dcs, book iv. pag-c 4oC. 



180 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

which she has deposited in leguminous plants, such as pease 
and beans, which the Romans comprehended in the class of 
corn-plants ; that finally she has formed another sort of it, 
which she has laid up in the fruits of trees, such as chesnuts, or 
in roots, as potatoes, and other farinaceous under-ground vege- 
tables. 

Those adaptations of substance to every climate are so infal- 
libly certain, that in every country the fruit most common there 
is the best and most wholesome. Hence I farther presume that 
she has followed the same plan with respect to medicinal plants ; 
and that having diffused over various families of vegetables, 
virtues relative to our blood, to our nerves, to our humors, she 
has modified them in every Country conformably to the diseases 
which the climate of each particular country generates, and 
has placed them in opposition with the particular characters of 
those same diseases. It is in my opinion from the neglect of 
these observations, that so many doubts and disputes have been 
excited respecting the virtues of plants. A simple, which in 
one country is an infallible cure for a malady, may sometimes 
increase it in another. The Jesuits-powder, which is the 
pounded bark of a species of fresh-water manglier of Mexico, 
is a remedy for the fevers of America, of a kind peculiar to 
damp and hot situations, but frequently fails when applied to 
those of Europe. Every medicine is modified according to 
the place, just as every malady is. 

I shall pursue this reflection no farther, as it would lead me 
into a deviation from my subject ; but if Physicians would pay 
the attention to it which it merits, they must study more care- 
fully the plants of their own country, and not prefer to them as 
ihey generally do, those of foreign climates, which they are un- 
der the necessity of modifying a thousand different ways, in 
order to give them, as chance may direct, an adaptation to local 
maladies. One thing is certain, namely, that when Nature has 
determined a certain savour in any vegetable, she repeats it all 
over the Earth with a variety of modifications, which do not 
however prevent our distinguishing it's principal virtue. Thus 
having placed tb.e cochlearia (scurvy-grass), that powerful anti- 
scorbutic, even on the foggy shores of Spitsbergen, she has re- 
peated the savour and the medicinal qualities of it, in the cresses 
f our brooks, in the gax-den cresses, in the nasturtium, which is 



STUDY XI. i8l 

a cress of the rivers of Peru ; in a word, in the very grains of the 
papaya, which grows in humid places of the Antilles Islands. 
We find in like manner the savour, the smell, and the medicinal 
qualities ef our garlic, in the woods, the barks, and the mosses 
of America.* 

* I must here observe that garlic, the smell of which is so formidable to 
our fine ladies, is perhaps the most infallible remedy in the World against 
the vapours, and all the nervous disorders to which women are subject. Of 
this I have had repeated experience. Nay Pliny goes so far as to assure us 
that it is a cure for the epilepsy. It is besides an antisceptic ; and every plant 
which has it's smell has also the same virtues. It is vei-y remarkable that 
plants which smell like garlic, usually gi-ovv in marshy places, as a remedy 
provided by Nature against the putrid emanations thence exliakd. Such is, 
among others, the scorrf/wm. Galen relates, that it's antiseptic virtue became 
demonstrable from this, that after a battle, the dead bodies which happened 
to be in contact with plants of the scordium, were found to be in a much less 
putrid state than tliose which were not ; and that those bodies remained fresh 
and sound chiefly in the parts wliich actually touched the plant But the ex- 
periment wliich tile Baron Ji iisbcqvma made with it upon living bodies, is 
still more striking. That great Man, on his return from the first Journey 
which he made to Constantinople, was attended by a numerous retijiue. A 
Turk of his suit was attacked witli the plague, and died. His companions re- 
solutely divided his spoils among themselves, in defiance of the remonstran- 
ces of the Physician of Busbequitts, who assui'ed them that the pestilence 
would therebj'be immediately communicated. In fact, a few days after, the 
sjTnptoms of that dreadful malady became apparent among them. 

But let us permit the intelligent and virtuous Ambassador himself to give 
an account of the consequences of this alarming event. " The day after our 
departure for Adi-ianople," says he, " they all came to him (the Physician) 
" with a sad and dejected air, complaining of a violent head-ach, and implor- 
" ing relief. They were peifectly sensible that they were afi'ected with the 
" first symptoms of the pestilence. My physician repremandcd tliem severc- 
" ly, saying he was astonished how they dared to apply to him for a rcmcdj- 
" for an evil of which he had forewarned tliem, and which they had obstlnate- 
" ly persisted in bringing upon themselves. Not however that he intended 
*' to withhold any assistance which might be in his power. On the contrary 
" he became extremely uneasy about the means of relieving them : But 
" where was the possibility of finding medicine on a road frequently subject- 
" to a failure of the most common necessaries of life ? Providence became our 
*' only refuge, and we were efTectually succoured in this trying hour. I sl.all 
" relate m what manner. 

" It was my custom, on our arrival at the different halting places on tlic 
" road, to go a walking in the vicinity, and to take a view of every tiling cu- 
" rious. That day I was so fortunate as to bend my course to an adjacen*^ 
" meadow. My eye happened to catch sight of a plant with which I was un- 
•' acquainted : I picked up some of it's leaves, and put them to my nose : they 
'• smelled of garlic. I handed them to my Physician, asking him if he tncv.- 



182 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

These considerations induce me to believe that the elementary 
characters of plants, and their entire configuration, are only se- 
condary means, and that their principal character is referable to 
the necessities of Man. Thus, in order to establish in plants an 
order simple and agreeable, instead of running over successively 
their elementary, vegetable, animal, and human harmonies, it 
would be more proper to invert this order, but without changing 
it, and to set out with the plants which present to Man a supply 
for his first wants, to proceed thence to the use which animals 
derive from them, and to conclude with the situations which 
determine their varieties. 

This order may be followed so much the more easily, that 
the first point of departure is fixed by the smell and the taste. 
The testimony of these two senses is far from being contemp- 
tible ; for they assist us in ascertaining the intimate qualities of 
plants, much better than the decompositions of Chemistry ; it 
may be extended to the whole vegetable kingdom, inasmuch as 
there is not a single genus of plants, varied into umbelliferous, 
rose-formed, papilionaceous, and the rest, but what presents food 
to Man in some part or another of the Globe. The ciperus of 
Ethiopia bears at it's root bulbs which have the taste of almonds. 
That which in Italy is called Trasi produces bulbs which taste 
like chesnuts.* We have found in America the potatoe in the 
class of solana, which are poisons. It is a jasmine of Arabia 
which supplies us with the coffee-berry. The eglantine with us 
produces berries fit only for the use of birds ; but that of the 
land of Yesso, which grows there among rocks and the shells on 

" Ihe plant. After having attentively examined it, he replied that it was the 
" scordiurn. He lifted up his hands to Heaven, and gave thanks to God for 
" the seasonable relief which He had sent us. He instantly gatliered a con- 
" siderable quantity, put it into a large kettle, and boiled it thoroughly. Then, 
" calling for the patients, desired them to take courage, and without the 
*' loss of a moment made them drink copiously of the decoction of that plant, 
" with a slight infusion of the earth of Lemnos : he then had them well wann- 
•* ed and put to bed, desiring them not to go to sleep till they had fallen uito 
" a profuse perspiration, with which they exactly complied. Tlie next day 
" they felt themselves greatly relieved. A similar dose was repeated, and 
" the whole ended in a perfect cure. Thus through the g-oodncss of God 
" we escaped a death which stai-ed us immediately in the face." (Letters 
of the Baron liusbeguiiis,\o\.I.-pagcs 197 and 198.) 

* See tlic Catalogue of Garden-Plants of Bologne, by Hiiacinth Jlmbrosinoy 



STUDY XL 183 

the sea-shore, bears cups so large and so nourishing, that they 
serve for food to the inhabitants of those shores for a considera- 
ble part of the year.* The ferns of our hills are unproductive ; 
but there grows in North- America a species of this plant, call- 
ed Filix baccifera^ loaded with berries which are very good to 
eat.f The tree itself of the Molucca Islands, called Libbi by 
the inhabitants and palm-sago by travellers, is in the judgment 
of our Botanists merely a fern. This fern contains in it's trunk 
the sago, a substance lighter and more delicate than rice. In a 
word, there are even certain species of sea weed which the Chi- 
nese eat with delight, among others those which compose the 
nests of a species of swallow. 

By disposing in this order therefore the plants which produce 
the principal subsistence of Man, as the grasses, we should have, 
first for our own countr\^, the wheat of strong lands, the rj- e of 
the sands, the barley of the rocks, the oats of humid places, the 
buck-wheat of rainy declivities ; and for other climates and ex- 
posures, the pannic, the millet, the maize, the Canadian oats, 
the rice of Asia, some species of which thrive in dry situations ; 
and so of the rest. 

It would be farther useful to ascertain on the Globe the places 
to which the several origin of each alimentary plant might be 
referred. What I have to advance on this subject maybe con- 
jecture merely, but it appears to me to have an air of probability. 
I am of opinion then, that Nature has placed in islands the spe- 
cies of plants Avhich are most beautiful, and best adapted to the 
necessities of Man. First, islands are more favourable to the 
elementary expansions of plants than the interior of continents, 
for there is no one but what enjoys the influences of all the ele- 
ments, being completely surrounded by the winds and the seas, 
and frequently in it's interior possessing the combined advan- 
tages of plains, of sands, of lakes, of rocks and of mountains. 
An island is a little world in epitome. Secondly, their particu- 
lar temperature is so varied, that you find some of them in ali 
the principal points of Longitude and Latitude, though there be 
a considerable number still unknown to us, particularly in the 
South Seas. Finally, experience demonstrates that there is noi 

* Consult Collection of Voyages by Thevjuof- 
i Sp Father Charlevoix, his History of Xew Fnnrc 



184 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

a single fruit-tree in Europe but what becomes more beautiful 
in some of the islands along the coast, than in the Continent. 

I have spoken of the beauty of the chesnut-trees of Corsica 
and Sicily : but Pliny ^ who has preserved to us the origin of the 
fruit-trees which were in Italy in his time, informs us that most 
of them had been imported from the islands of the Archipelago. 
The walnut came from Sardinia ; the vine, the fig-tree, the 
olive, and many other fruit-trees, were natives of the other isl- 
ands of the Mediterranean. Nay he observes that the olive- 
tree, as well as several other plants, thrive only in the vicinity of 
the Sea. All modern travellers confirm these observations. 
Tavernier, who had so many times traversed the Asiatic Con- 
tinent, assures us that no olive-trees are to be seen beyond 
Aleppo. An anonymous English traveller, whom I have al- 
ready quoted with approbation, positively asserts that no where 
on the Continent are there to be found fig-trees, once to be com- 
pared, either as to magnitude or fertility, with those of the 
Archipelago, notwithstanding the carelessness and indolence of 
the wretched possessors. To these I might add a great many 
other vegetables, which thrive only in those islands, and which 
furnish to the commerce of Europe, gums, mannas, and d}e- 
stuffs. The apple-tree, so common in France, produces no 
where such fine fruit, and of species so varied, as on the shores 
of Normandy, under the breath of the sea-breeze from the West. 
I have no doubt that the fruit which was proposed as the prize 
of beauty had, like Venus herself, some favourite isle. 

If we carry our remarks even into the Torrid Zone, we shall 
find that it is neither from Asia nor from Africa that we obtain 
the clove, the nutmeg, the cinnamon, the pepper of the best 
quality, the benzoin, the sandal-wood, the sago, and many 
others, but from the Molucco Islands, or from those which are 
in the same seas. The cocoa-tree attains it's perfect beauty only 
in the Maldivia Islands. Nay there are in the archipelagos of 
those Seas a great number of fruit-trees described by Dampkr 
^vhich have not yet been transplanted into the Old Continent ; 
such as the grape-tree. The double cocoa is to be found only 
in the Sechelles Islands. The islands recently discovered in 
the South-Sea, such as that of Otaheite, have presented us with 
trees hitherto unknown, as the bread-fruit and the mulberrj'-tree, 
the bark of which serves to make cloth. As much may be said 



STUDY XL 185 

of the vegetable productions of the Islands of America relatively 
to their Continent. 

These observations might be extended even to the very birds 
and quadrupeds, which are more beautiful, and of species more 
varied in islands than any where else. The elephants held in 
highest estimation in Asia are those of the Island of Ceylon. 
The Indians believe them to be possessed of something divine ; 
nay more, they allege that other elephants acknowledge this su- 
periority. One thing is certain, they fetch a higher price all 
over Asia than any others. In a word, travellers the most wor- 
thy of credit, and who have made the most accurate observa- 
tions, as the English Dumpier^ Father du Tertre^ and some 
others, assure us, that there is not a shallow in the seas lying 
between the Tropics but what is distinguished by some sort of 
bird, of crab, of turtle, or of fish, which is no where else to be 
found, either of species so varied, or in so great abundance. I 
presume that Nature has thus scattered her choicest benefits 
over the islands, in order to allure men thither, and to pervade 
the Earth. These are only conjectures I grant, but they rarely 
deceive us when they are founded on the wisdom and goodness 
of the Author of Nature. 

The finest species of corn, therefore, which is wheat, might 
be referred to Sicily, where in fact they pretend it was original- 
ly found. Fable has immortalized this discovery, by making 
that island the scene of the amours of Ceres; as well as the birth 
of Bacchus^ in the Isle of Naxos, because of the beauty of it's 
vines. This much is certain, that corn is no where indigenous 
but in Sicily, if however it still re-perpetuates itself there spon- 
taneously, as the Ancients affirm.* 

After having determined in the same manner the other hu- 
man accommodations of the grasses to different situations of 
gi-ound, we might examine the grasses which exhibit marked 
relations to our domestic animals, such as the ox, the horse, the 
sheep, the dog. We might characterize them by the name of 
these animals. We should have the j^-yaincn bovinum^ cquinum^ 

* The native or original country of the wheat, or corn, is not known. It is 
Jiot probable tliat it was inJig^cnous in Sicily. It is much more jn-oljablc that 
it's native countiy is some part of Hindustan, or Persia, 'i'he spelt, vhich is 
a species of wheat, is, unquestionably, indigenous in Persia, where it is still 
i'nuul wild in some of the delightful vallies of that country.— IJ. S. U. 

Vol. II. A a 



186 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

ovinum^ caninum. The different species of each of these genera 
might afterwards be distinguished by the names of the diiferent 
places where they are found by the several animals ; on the 
banks of rivers, among rocks, on sands, on mountains ; so that 
by the addition of the epithets, jftuvtatile^ saxatile^ arenosum^ 
viontaniim^ you might supply in two words, all the verbose phra- 
seology of our botanical compositions. 

We might apportion, in like manner, the other grasses to the 
different quadrupeds of our forests, as to the stag, to the hare, to 
the wild boar, and so on. These first determinations would re- 
quire certain experiments to be made on the tastes of animals, 
but they would be very instructive, and highly amusing. They 
would have no mixture of cruelty, as most of those of our mo- 
dem physics have, by which the wretched animal is flayed alive, 
poisoned, or suffocated, in order to come at the knowledge of 
it's propensities. Our experiments would study their appetites 
only, and not their convulsions. Besides, there are a great ma- 
ny of those preferred and rejected plants already well known to 
our shepherds. One of them shewed me, in the vicinity of 
Paris, a gramineous plant which fattens sheep more in a fort^ 
night than the other species can do in two months. The mo- 
ment too that the animals perceive it, they run after it with the 
utmost avidity. Of this I have been an eye-witness, I do not 
mean however to assert that each species of animal limits it's 
appetite to a single species of food. It is quite sufficient, in or- 
der to establish the order which I am proposing, that each of 
them gives, in every genus of plant, a decided preference to 
some one species ; and this is confirmed beyond all doubt by 
pxperience. 

The great class of the gramineous plants being thus appor- 
tioned to Man and animals, other plants would present still 
greater facility in their appropriations, because they are much 
less numerous. Of the fifteen hundred and fifty species of plants, 
enumerated by Sebastian le Faillant in the country adjacent to 
Paris, there are more than a hundred families, among which 
that of the grasses comprehends, for it's share, eighty-five spe- 
cies, exclusive of twenty-six varieties, and our different sorts of 
corns. It is the most numerous next to that of mushrooms, 
which contains a hundred and ten species, and that of mosses, 
^vhich contains eighty-six. Thus, instead of the systematic clas- 



STUDY XI. isr 

sification of botanic Writers, which gives no explanation of the 
uses of most of the vegetable parts, which frequently confounds 
plants the most heterogeneous, and separates those of the same 
genus, we should have an order simple, easy, agreeable, and of 
an infinite extent, which passing from Man to animals, to vege- 
tables and to the elements, would discover to us the plants which 
serve to our use and to that of other sensible beings, would 
render to each of them it's elementary relations, to each site on 
the Earth it's vegetable beaut}', and would replenish the heart 
of Man with admiration and gratitude. This plan appears so 
much the more conformable to that of Nature, that it is entirely- 
comprehended in the benediction which it's Author pronounced 
upon our first parents, saying unto them :* " Behold, I have 
" given unto you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the 
" face of all the Earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit; 
" of a tree yielding seed, after it's kind: to you it shall be for 
" meat: and to every beast of the Earth, and to every fowl of 
" the air, and to every creeping thing that creepeth upon the 
" Earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb 
" for meat." 

This benediction is not confined, as far as Man is concerned 
to some primordial species in each genus. It is extended to the 
whole vegetable kingdom, which converts itself into aliment fit 
for his use by means of the domestic animals. Linnceus has 
presented to them from eight to nine hundred plants which Swe- 
den produces, and he remarked that of these, the cow eats two 
hundred and eighty six ; the goat four hundred and fifty eight ; 
the sheep four hundred and seventeen ; the horse tivo hundred 
and seventy-eight : the hog one hundred and seven. The first 
animal refuses only one hundred and eighty-four of them ; the 
the second ninety-two ; the third one hundred and twelve ; the 
fourth two hundred and seven ; the fifth one hundred and nine- 
ty. In these enumerations he comprehends only the plants which 
those animals eat with avidity, and those which they obstinately 
reject. The others are indifferent to them. They eat tliem 
when necessity requires, and even with pleasure, v.'hen they are 
tender. Not one of them goes to waste. Tliose which nre re- 
jected bv some are a high delice to others. The most acrid and 

* Genesis, chap i. ver, 29, 30 



188 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

even the most venomous, serve to fatten one or another. The 
goat browses on the ranunculus of the meadow, though hot as 
pepper, on the tithymal and the hemlock. The hog devours 
the horsetail and henbane. He did not put the ass to this kind 
of proof, for that animal does not live in Sweden, nor the rein- 
deer, which supplies the want of him to so much advantage in 
northern regions, nor the other domestic animals, such as the 
duck, the goose, the hen, the pigeon, the cat, and the dog. 

All these animals united, seem destined to convert to our ad- 
vantage every thing that vegetates, by means of their universal 
appetites, and especially by that inexplicable instinct of domes- 
ticity which attaches them to Man ; whereas no art can commu- 
nicate it either to that timid animal the deer, nor even to some 
of the smaller birds, which seek to live under our protection, 
such as the swallow, who builds her nest in our houses. Na- 
ture has bestowed this instinct of sociability with Man only on 
those whose services might be viseful to him at all seasons ; and 
she has given them a configuration wonderfully adapted to the 
different aspects of the vegetable kingdom. 

I say nothing of the camel of the Arabian, which can travel 
under a load for several days together without drinking, in tra- 
versing the burning sands of Zara ; nor of the rein-deer of the 
Laplander, whose deeply-cleft hoof can fasten, and run along on 
the surface of the snow ; nor of the rhinoceros of the Siamese 
and of the Peguan, who with the folds of his skin, which he can 
distend at pleasure, is able to disengage himself out of the mar- 
shy grounds of Siriam ; nor of the Asiatic elephant whose foot 
divided into five ergots is so sure on the steep mountains of the 
Torrid Zone ; nor of the lama of Peru, who with his forked feet 
scrambles over the rocky heights of the Cordeliers. Every ex- 
traordinary situation is maintaining for Man a useful and com- 
modious servant. 

But without removing from our own hamlets, the single-hoof- 
ed horse pastures in the plains, the ponderous cow in the bot- 
tom of the valley, the bounding sheep on the declivity of the 
hill, the scrambling goat on the sides of the rocks ; the hog, fur- 
nished with a proboscis, rakes up the morass from the bottom j 
the goose and the duck feed on the fluviatic plants ; the hen 
picks up every grain that was scattered about and in danger of 
l-eing lost in the field ; the four- winged bee collects a tribute 



STUDY XL 189 

from the small dust of the flowers ; and the rapid pigeon has- 
tens to save from loss the grains which the winds had conveyed 
to inaccessible rocks. All these animals, after having occupied 
through the day the various sites of vegetation, return in the 
evening to the habitation of Man, with blcatings, with murmur- 
ings, with cries of joy, bringing back to him the delicious pro- 
duce of the vegetable creation, transformed by a process alto- 
gether inconceivable, into honey, into milk, into butter, into eggs, 
and into cream. 

I take delight in representing to myself those early ages of 
the World when men travelled over the face of the Earth, at- 
tended by their flocks and herds, laying the whole vegetable 
kingdom under contribution. The Sun going before them in 
the Spring invited them to advance to the farthest extremities 
of the North, and to return with Autumn bringing up his train. 
His annual course in the Heavens seems to be regulated by the 
progress of Man over the Earth. While the OA of day is ad- 
vancing from the Tropic of Capricorn to that of Cancer, a tra- 
veller departing on foot from the Torrid Zone may arrive on 
the shores of the Frozen Ocean, and return thence into the 
Temperate Zone when the sun traces backward his progress, 
at the rate of only four, or at most five leagues a day, without 
being incommoded the whole journey through with either the 
sultry heat of Summer, or the frost of Winter. It is by regu- 
lating themselves according to the annual course of the Sun that 
certain Tartar-hordes still travel. 

What a spectacle must the virgin Earth have presented to it's 
first inhabitants, while every thing was as yet in it's place, and 
Nature not yet degraded by the injudicious labours or the des- 
perate madness of Man ! I suppose them taking their depar- 
ture from the banks of the Indus, that land which is the cradle 
of the Human Race, on a progress northward. They first 
crossed the lofty mountains of Bember, continually covered 
with snow, which like a rampart encompass the happy land oi 
Cachemire, and separate it from the burning kingdom of La- 
hor.* They presented themselves to their eyes like vast amphi- 
theatres of verdure, clothed to the South with all the vegetables 
of India, and to the North with all those of Etirope. They de- 

' Consult £ernier's Description of the Mogul Countn 



190 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

scended Into the vast bason which contains them, and there they 
beheld a part of the fruit-trees which were destined one day to 
enrich our orchards. The apricots of Media, and the peach* 
trees of Persia skirted, with their blossoming boughs, the lakes, 
and the brooks of living water which bedew their roots. On 
leaving the ever-green valleys of Cachemire, they quickly pe- 
netrated into the forests of Europe, and went to repose under 
the foliage of the stately beech and tufted elm, which had as 
yet shaded only the loves of the feathered race, and which no 
Poet had hitherto sung. They crossed the boundless meadows 
which are washed by the Irtis, resembling Oceans of verdure, 
here and there diversified with long beds of yellow lilies, with 
stripes of ginzeng, and tufts of broad-leaved rhubarb. Follow- 
ing the track of it's current, they plunged into the forests of the 
North, under the majestic branches of the fir, and the moving 
foliage of the birch. 

What smiling valleys opened to their view along the river's- 
side, and invited them to deviate from the road, by promising 
them objects still more lovely ! What hills enamelled with un- 
known flowers, and crowned with ancient and venerable trees, 
endeavoured to persuade them to proceed no farther ! Arrived 
on the shores of the Icy Sea a new order of things arose to 
viev/. There was now no more night. The Sun encompassed 
the Horizon round and round ; and the mists, dispersed through 
the air, repeated on different planes the lustre of his rays in 
rainbows of purple, and parhelions of dazzling radiance. But 
if the magnificence of the Heavens was multiplied, desolation 
covered the face of the Earth. The Ocean was hoary with 
mountains of floating ice, which appeared in the Horizon like 
towers and cities in ruin ; and on the land nothing was to be 
seen in place of groves, but a wretched shrubbery blasted by 
the winds, and instead of verdant meads, rocks clothed with 
moss. The flocks which had accompanied them must there un- 
doubtedly have perished ; but even there Nature had still made 
provision for the necessities of Man. Those shores were com- 
posed of massy beds of coal.* The seas swarmed with fishes, 
and the lakes with fowls. They must find among the animal 
tribes servants and assistants : the rein-deer appeared in the 

* Pi'ofessor Gmelin*s Journey Siberia. 



STUDY XI. 191 

middle of the mosses : she presented to those wandering fami- 
lies the services of the horse in her agilit}'^, the fleece of the 
sheep in her fur ; and shewing them, like the cow, her four 
teats, and but one nursling, she seemed to tell them that she 
was destined like her to share her milk with mothers oppressed 
by a too numerous offspring. 

But the East must have been the part of the Globe which 
first attracted the attention of Mankind. That place of the Ho- 
rizon where the Sun arises undoubtedly fixed their wondering 
eyes, at a period when no system had interposed to regulate 
opinion. On seeing that great Luminary arising from day to 
day, in the same quarter of the Heavens, they must have been 
persuaded that he there had a fixed habitation, and that he had 
another where he set, as a place of rest. Such imaginations 
confirmed by the testimony of their eyes, were, it must be ad- 
mitted, natural to men destitute of experience, who had attempt- 
ed to erect a tower which should reach to Heaven, and who 
even in the illumination of more scientific ages believed, as a 
point of religion, that the Sun was drawn about in a chariot by 
horses, and retired every evening to repose in the arms of The- 
tis. I presume they would be determined to go in quest of 
• him rather toward the East than toward the West, under the 
persuasion that they would greatly abridge their labour by ad- 
^'ancing to meet him. 

It must have been this conviction, I am disposed to think, 
which left the West, for a long time, in a deserted state, under 
the very same Latitudes which in the East were swarming with 
inhabitants, and which first sent men in crowds toward the eas- 
tern part of our Continent, where the earliest and most populous 
Empire of the World, that of China, was formed. What con- 
firms me farther in the belief that the first men who advanced 
toward the East were engaged in this research, and were in 
haste to reach their object, is this, that having taken their de- 
parture from India, the cradle of the Human Race, like the 
founders of other Nations, they did not like them people thf 
Earth progressively, as Persia, Greece, Italy, and Gaul were 
successively, in a westerly direction ; but leaving desert the vast 
and fertile countries of Siam, of Cochinchina, and of Tonquin, 
which are to this day half barbarous and uninhabited, they ne- 
\er gave up the pursuit till they were stopped by the Easteii? 



192 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

Ocean ; and they gave to the islands which they perceived at a 
distance, and on which they did not for a long time acquire the 
skill to land, the name of Gepiien, which we have transformed 
into Japan, and which in the Chinese language signifies birth 
of the Sun. 

Father Kirchcr* assures us, that when the first Jesuit Astro- 
nomers arrived in China, and there reformed the Calendar, the 
Chinese believed the Sun and the Moon to be no bigger than 
they appear to the eye ; that on setting they retired to a deep 
cave, from which they issued next day at the time of rising j 
and, finally, that the Earth was a plane and smooth furface. 
Tacitus^ who has written History with such profound judg- 
ment, does not deem it to be beneath him, in that of Germany, 
to relate the traditions of the western Nations, who affirmed 
that toward the North-west was the place where the Sun went 
to bed, and that they could hear the noise which he made on 
plunging into the waves. 

It was from the quarter of the East, then, that the Orb of 
Day first attracted the curiosity of Mankind. There were like- 
Avise tribes which directed their course toward that point of the 
Globe, taking their departure from the southern part of India. 
These advanced along the peninsula of Malacca ; and famili- 
arized with the Sea, which they coasted most of the way, they 
were induced to form the resolution of availing themselves of 
the united accommodation which the two elements present to 
travellers, by navigating from island to island. They thus per- 
vaded that vast belt of islands, which Nature has thrown into 
the Torrid Zone, like a bridge intersected by canals, in order 
to facilitate the communication of the two Worlds. When re- 
tarded by tempests or contrary winds, they drew their barks 
ashore, cast a few seeds into the ground, reaped the crop, and 
deferred their re-embarkation till fairer weather, and a season 
more favourable, encouraged them to venture to sea again. 

Thus it was that the early mariners performed their voyages, 
and that the Phenicians, employed by Necbo^ King of Egypt, 
made the circuit of Africa in three years, departing by way of 
the Red-Sea, and returning by the Mediterranean, according to 
• he account given of it by Herodotus. \ 

* See China Illustrated, chap. i\- 
t Herodotus, book iv. 



STUDY XI. 193 

The first Navigators, when they no longer saw islands in the 
Horizon, paid attention to the seeds which the Sea cast upon 
the shore of those where they were, and to the flight of the 
birds which were withdrawing from it. On the faith of these 
indications they directed their course toward lands which they 
had never yet seen. Thus were discovered the immense Ar- 
chipelago of the Moluccas, the Islands of Guam, of Quiros, of 
the Society, and undoubtedly many others which are still un- 
known to us. There was not one but what invited them to land, 
by presenting some attractive accommodation. Some stretched 
out along the waves like Nereids, poured from their urns rills 
of fresh water into the Sea : it was thus that the island of Juan 
FemandeE, with it's rocks and cascades, presented itself to Ad- 
miral Anson in the midst of the South-Sea. Others, on the con- 
trary, in the same Ocean, having their centres sunk, and their 
extremities elevated, and crowned with cocoa-trees, offered to 
their canoes basons at all seasons tranquil, swarming with fish- 
es and sea-fowls : such is that known by the name of Woester- 
land^ or the Land of Water, discovered by the Dutch Naviga- 
tor Schouton, Others, in the morning, appeared to them in the 
boson* of the aEure main, all over irradiated with the light of 
the Sun, as that one of the same Archipelago which goes by the 
name of Aurora. Some announced themselves in the darkness 
of night by the flames of a volcano, as a pharos blazing aloft 
amidst the waters, or by the odoriferous emanations of their 
perfumes. 

There was not one of them of which the woods, the hills, and 
the downs, did not maintain some animal, naturally familiar and 
gentle, but which becomes savage only from the cruel experi- 
ence which it acquires of Man. They saw fluttering around 
them, as they disembarked on their strands, the silken-winged 
birds of paradise, the blue pigeons, the cacatoes all over white, 
the lauris all red. Every new island tendered them some new 
present ; crabs, fishes, shells, pearl-oysters, lobsters, turtles, am- 
bergris ; but the most agreeable, beyond all doubt, were the ve- 
getables. Sumatra displayed on her shores, the pepper plant ; 
Banda, the nutmeg ; Amboyna, the clove : Cerara, the palm- 
sago ; Flores, the benzoin and sandalwood : New-Guinea, 
groves of cocoa-trees ; Otaheite, the bread-fruit. Every island 
arose in the midst of the Sea like a vase which supported a pre* 

Vol. H. B b 



194 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

clous vegetable. When they discovered a tree ladencd with 
unknown fruit, they gathered some branches of it, and ran to 
meet tlieir companions with shouts of joy, exhibiting this new 
benefit bestowed by Nature. 

From those early voyages, and from those ancient customs it 
is, that there has been diffused over all Nations, the practice of 
consalting the flight of birds before engaging in any enterprize, 
and that of going to meet strangers with the branch of a tree in 
the hand, in token of peace, and of joy at sight of a present from 
Heaven. These customs still exist among the islanders of the . 
South-Sea, and among the free tribes of America. But not 
fruit-trees alone fixed the attention of the first Men. If some 
heroic action, or some irreparable disaster, had excited admira- 
tion, or inspired regret, the tree adjoining was ennobled by it. 
They preferred it with those fruits of virtue or of love, to 
such as produced food or perfume. Thus in the islands of 
Greece and of Italy, the laurel became the symbol of triumph, 
and the cypress that of eternal sorrow. The oak supplied 
crowns of undecaying honour to the well-deserving citizen, and 
simple grasses decorated the brows of the men who had saved 
their Country. O Romans ! ye were a people worthy 'of the 
Empire of the World, in that you opened to every one of your 
subjects the career of virtuous exertion, and culled the most 
common plants of the field to serve as the badge of immortal 
glor}', that a crown for the head of virtue might be found on 
everj^' spot of the Globe. 

From similar attractions it was, that from island to island the 
Nations of Asia made their way to the New World, where the}' 
landed on the shores of Peru. Thither they carried the name 
of children of that Sun whom they were pursuing. This bril- 
liant chimera emboldened them to attempt the passage to Ame- 
rica. It was not dissipated till they reached the shores of the 
Atlantic Ocean : but it diffused itself over the whole Continent, 
where most of the Chiefs of the Nations still assume the title of 
Children of the Sun.* 

* I do not mean to affirm, however, that America was peopled Qiily from 
the islands of the South-Sea. I beheve tliat a passage was opened into it like- 
wise by the North of Asia and of Eui-ope. Nature always presents to Man- 
kind different means for the attamment of the same end. But the principal 
•population of the New World came from the islands of the South-Sea, Thi^ 



STUDY XI. 195 

Mankind, encompassed with so many blessings, continues to 
be wretched. There is not a single genus of animal but what 
lives in abundance and liberty, the greatest part without labotji, 

I am able to prove by a multitude of monuments still existing^, and to the 
most remarkable of which I shall confine myself. It is demonstrated then by 
the worship of the Sun, established in India, in the islands in the South-Sea, 
and in Peru, as well as by the title of Suns, or Children of the Sun, assumed 
by many families of those countries ; by the traditions of the Caraibs scattered 
over the Antilles, and in Brasll, wlio give themselves out as originally fi-om 
Peru ; by the very establishment of the Monarchy of Peru, as well as that of 
Mexico, situated on the western coast of America, which looks toward the 
islands of the South-Sea, and by the populousness of their Xations, wliich were 
much more considerable and more polished than those which inhabited the 
eastern coasts, which supposes the former to be of a much liig-her antiquity ; 
by the prodigious diffusion of the Otaheitan language, the different dialects 
of which are spread ovpr most of tlu- islands of the South-Sea, and of which 
words innumerable are to be found in Uie language of Peru, as lias lately been 
proved by a gentleman of great learning, and even in that of the Malays in 
Asia, some of which I myself was able to distinguish, particularly the word 
mat^, wliicli signifies to kill; by the practices common and peculiar to the 
Nations of the Peninsula of Malacca, of the islands of Asia, and those of the 
Soutli-Sea and of Brasil, which arc not the inspiration of Nature, such as 
tliat of making fermented and intoxicating liquors, and of chewing herbs and 
roots ; by the channels of the commerce of antiquity which flowed in this di- 
rection, such as that of gold, which was very common in Arabia and in the 
Indies, in the time of the Romans, though there be very few mines of that 
metal in Asia ; but above all, by tlie trade of emeralds, which must have run 
in that track from remote antiquity, in order to reach the Old Continent, 
where no mine of that gem is to be found. Hear what is said on this subject 
by Tavcrnier, who is worthy of credit when he speaks of the commerce of 
Asia, especially as it relates to jewels. " It is an error of long standing," 
says he, " which many persons have fallen into, to believe that the emerald 
" was found originally in the East. Most jewellers, on first looking at a high, 
" coloured emerald are accustomed to say, this is an Oriental emerald. But, 
" they arc mistaken, for I am well assured, that the East never produced one, 
'' either on the Continent, or in it's islands. I have made accurate enquiries 
" into this, in all the voyages 1 made." He had travelled six times by land 
tlirough India. Hence it must be concluded, tliat the so liighly valued eme- 
ralds of the ancients, came to them from America, througli the islands of the 
South-Sea, through those of Asia, through India, the Ilcd Sea, and finally 
through Egypt, from whence they liad them. 

']"() tliis may be objected the difficulty of navigating against the regulai* 
easterly winds, in order to pass from Asia to America, under the Torrid Zone , 
but relatively to this subject, I shall repeat, tliat the regidai- winds do not 
blow there I'roru the East, but from the North-east and South-east, and de- 
pend so mucli ihe more on tiie two Poles, the nearer you approacli toward 
llic Line, Tiijit oldiquc directi6u of the wind was sufficient for pei-sons who 



lyo STUDIES OF NATURE. 

all at peace with their species, all united to the objects of their 
choice, and enjoying the felicity of re-perpetuating themselves 
by their families ; whereas more than the half of Mankind is 

navigated from island to island, and who had contrived barks the least liable 
to deflection, such as the double pros of the isles of Guam, the form of which 
seems to have been preserved in the double balses of the coast of Peru. 
Schouien found one of those double pros sailing more than six hundred 
leagues fi*om the Island of Guam toward America. Besides, it appears like- 
wise that the South-Sea has it's monsoons, which have not hitherto been ob- 
served. Hear the remarks made, on the vaiiation of those wmds, by an 
anon) mous English Navigatoi-, who sailed round the World, with Sir Joseph 
Blinks and Mr. SoUmiler, in the years 1768, 1769, 1770, and 1771, page 83. 
" The inhabitants of Otaheite trade with those of the adjacent islands which 
" lie to the eastward, and which we had discovered on our passage. During 
*' three months of the year, the winds which blow from the West quarter are 
" very favourable to them for carrying on this traffic." Admiral Anson like- 
wise met with winds from the West in those Latitudes, which retarded him. 

Certain Philosophers explain tlie correspondencies to be found between 
the inhabitants of the islands and those of Continents, by supposing islands 
to be lands once united to the Continent, but now swallowed up by the Ocean, 
the summit only, and a few of the inhabitants upon it, remaining above the 
water. But enough has been already said in this Work, to evince that mari- 
time islands are not fragments separated from the Continent, and that they 
have mountains, peaks, lakes, hills, proportionable to their extent, and di- 
rected to tlie regular winds which blow over their seas. They have vegeta- 
bles peculiar to themselves, and which no where else attain the same degree 
of beauty. Fartlier, had those islands foinierly constituted part of our Con- 
tinent, we should find m them all those of our quadrupeds which are to be 
met with in all climates ; there were no rats nor mice in America, and in the 
Antilles, pi'evious to the arrival of the Europeans, if we may believe the tes- 
timony of the Spanish Historian Herrera, and of Father du Tertre. We should 
likewise have found in them the ox, the ass, the camel, the horse, but they 
contained none of these animals ; but plenty of our common poultry, ducks, 
dogs, swine, as well as among the Islanders of tlie South-Sea, who themselves 
had no other of our domestic animals. It is obvious that the first animals, 
Kuch as the horse and the cow, being of a bulk and weight too considerable, 
could not possibly, be their utility ever so gi-eat, cross the seas in the small 
canoes of the early Navigators, who on the other hand would have been very 
careful not to transport with them such vermin as rats and mice. 

Finally, let us revert to the general Laws of Nature. If all the islands of 
the South-Sea once formed a Continent, there must have been no sea then in 
the space which they occupy. Now it is indubitably certain, that were you at 
this day to take away from around them the Ocean by which they are en- 
compassed, and the regular winds which blow over it, you would blast thera 
with sterility. The islands of the South-Sea form, between Asia and Ame- 
rica, a real bridge of communication, with a few arches alone of which we are 
acquainted, and of wh«U it weuld not be diflTicult to discover the rest, from 



STUDY Xf. 197 

doomed to celibacy. The other half curses the bands which 
have matched him. The greater part tremble at the thought of 
rearing a progeny, under the apprehension of being incapable to 
find subsistence for them. The greater part, in order to pro- 
cure subsistance for themselves, are subjected to painful labours, 
and are reduced to the condition of slaves to their fellow-crea- 
tures. Whole Nations are exposed to perish by famine : others, 
destitute of territory, are piled a-top of each other, while the 
greatest part of the Globe is a wilderness. 

There are many lands which never have been cultivated ; but 
there is not one, known to Europeans, which has not been pol- 
luted with human blood. The very solitudes of the Ocean gulp 
down into their abysses vessels filled with men, sunk to the 
bottom by the hands of men. In cities, to all appearance so 
flourishing by their arts and their monuments, pride and craft, 
superstition and impiety, violence and perfidy, are in a state of 
incessant warfare, and keep the wretched inhabitants in per- 
petual alarm. The more that society is polished in them, the 
more numerous and cruel are the evils which oppress them. Is 
the industry of Man there most exerted, only because he is there 
most miserable ? Why should the Empire of the Globe have 
been conferred on the single animal which had not the govern- 
ment of it's own passions ? How comes it that Man, feeble and 
transitor)', should be animated by passions at once ferocious and 
generous, despicable and immortal ? How is it that, bom with- 
out instinct, he should have been able to acquire such various 
knowledge ? He has happily imitated all the arts of Nature, ex- 
cept that of being happy. All the traditions of the Human Race 
have preserved the origin of these strange contradictions ; but 
Religion alone unfolds to us the cause of them. She informs 
us that Man is of a different order from the rest of animals ,- 
that his reason perverted has given offence to the Author of 
the Universe ; that as a just punishment, he has been left to the 
direction of his own understanding ; that he is capable of form- 
ing his reason only by the study of universal reason, displayed 
in the Works of Nature, and in the hopes which virtue Inspires ; 

the other harmonies of the Globe. But liere I restrain my conjectures on this 
subject. I Jiave said enough to prove, tliat the same hand which has covered 
the Earth with plants and animals for tlic service of Man, has not nc'^lected 
»he different parts of his habitation 



198 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

that by such means alone he can be enabled to rise above tin; 
animal, beneath the level of which he is sunk, and to re-ascend, 
step by step, along the steepy declivity of the celestial mountain 
from which he has been precipitated. 

Happy is he in these clays, who instead of rambling over the 
World, can live remote from Mankind ! Happy the Man who 
knows nothing beyond the circumference of his own Horizon, 
and to whom even the next village is an unknown land ! He has 
not placed his affections on objects which he must never more 
behold, nor left his reputation at the mercy of the wicked. He 
believes that innocence resides in hamlets, honour in palaces, 
and virtue in temples. His glory and his religion consist in 
communicating happiness to those around him. If he beholds 
not in his garden the fruits of Asia, or the shady groves of 
America, he cultivates the plants which delight his wife and 
children. He has no need of the monuments of Architecture 
to dignify and embellish his landscape. A tree, under the 
shade of which a virtuous man is reclined to rest, suggests to 
him sublime recollections ; the poplar in the forest recals to his 
mind the combats of Hercules; and the foliage of the oak re- 
minds him of the crowning garlands of the Capitol. 



STUDY XII. 

OF SOME MORAL LAWS OF NATURE. 

Weakness of Reason ; of Feeling ; Proofs of the Divinity^ and 
of the Immortality of the Soul^ from Feeling. 

SUCH are the physical proofs of the existence of the De- 
ity, as far as the feebleness of my reason has enabled me to 
produce and arrange them. I have collected perhaps ten times 
as many ; but I perceived that I was after all but at the begin- 
ning of my career ; that the farther I advanced, the farther it 
extended itself before me ; that my own labour would soon 
overwhelm me ; and that, conformably to the idea of Scripture, 
nothing would remain to me after a complete survey of the 
Works of Creation, but the most profound astonishment. 

It is one of the great calamities of human life, that in pro- 
portion as we approach the source of truth, it flies away from 
before us j and that when by chance we are enabled to catch 
some of it's smaller ramifications, we are unable to remain con- 
stantly attached to them. Wherefore has the sentiment which 
yesterday exalted me to Heaven, at sight of a new relation of 
Nature — wherefore has it disappeared to-day ? Archimedes did 
not remain always in an ecstacy, from the discovery of the re- 
lations of metals in the crown of King Hiero. He after thai 
made other discoveries more congenial to his mind : such as 
that of the cylinder circumscribed within the sphere, which ht 
gave directions to have engi'aved on his tomb. Pythagoras con- 
templated at length with indifference the square of the h)-po 
thenuse, for the discovery of which he had vowed, it is said, a 
whole hecatomb of oxen to Jupiter. I recollect that when I 
first became master of the demonstration of those sublime 
truths, I experienced a delight almost as lively as that of the 
great men who were the first inventors of them. Wherefore is 
it extinguished ? Why do I this day stand in need of novelties 
to procure me pleasure ? The mere animal is in this respect 
happier than we are : what pleased him yesterday will likewise 



200 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

give him pleasure to-morrow : he fixes for himself a boundary 
•which he never exceeds ; what is sufficient for him, always ap- 
pears to him beautiful and good. The ingenious bee constructs 
commodious cells, but never dreams of rearing triumphal arch- 
es, or obelisks, to decorate her waxen city. A cottage was in 
like manner sufficient for Man, in order to be as well lodged as 
a bee. What need had he of five orders of Architecture, of py- 
ramids, of towers, of kiosques ? 

What then is that versatile faculty, called reason^ which I 
employ in observing Nature ? It is, say the Schools, a percep- 
tion of correspondencies, which essentially distinguishes Man 
from the beast. Man enjoys reason, and the beast is merely 
governed by instinct. But if this instinct always points out to 
the animal what is best adapted to it's situation, it is therefore 
likewise a reason, and a reason more precious than ours, in as 
much as it is invariable, and is acquired without the aid of long 
and painful experience. To this the Philosophers of the last age 
replied, that the proof of the want of reason in beasts is this, that 
they act always in the same manner ; thus they concluded, from 
the very perfection of their reason, that they had none. Hence 
we may see to what a degree great names, salaries, and associ- 
ations, may give currency to the greatest absurdities ; for the 
argument of those Philosophers is a direct attack on the Su- 
preme Intelligence itself, which is invariable in it's plans, as 
animals are in their instinct. If bees uniformly construct their 
cells of the same figure, it is because Nature always makes bees 
of the same character. 

I do not mean however tc affirm that the reason of beasts and 
that of Man is the same : ours is without dispute much more 
extensive than the instinct of each animal in particular ; but if 
Man is endowed with an universal reason. Must it not be be- 
cause his wants are universal ? He likewise discerns it is true 
the v/ants of other animals ; but may it not be relatively to 
himself that he has made this his study ? If the dog gives him- 
self no concern about the oats of the horse, it is perhaps because 
the horse is not subservient to the wants of the dog. 

We possess, notwithstanding, natural adaptations peculiar to 
ourselves, such as the art of agriculture, and the use of fire. 
The knowledge of these undoubtedly woul,d demonstrate our 
liatural superiority, were it not at the same time a proof of our 



STUDY XII. 201 

wretchedness. Animals are under no necessity to kindle fires, 
and to cast seed into the ground, for they are clothed and fed by 
the hand of Nature. Besides, many of them have in them- 
selves faculties far superior to our sciences, which are, if the 
truth might be told, foreign to us. If we have discovered some 
phosphoric substances, the luminous fly of the Tropics has in 
itself a focus of light which illuminates it during the night. 
While we are amusing ourselves in making experiments on 
electricity, the torpedo is employing it in self-defence : and 
while the Academies and States of Europe are proposing con- 
siderable prizes to the person who shall discover the means of 
determining the Longitude at Sea, the paillencu and the frigat 
are every day performing a flight of three or four hundred 
leagues between the Tiopics, from East to West, without ever 
failing to find in the evening the rock from which they took 
their departure in the morning. 

Another mortifying insufficiency presents itself, when Philo- 
sophy attempts to employ, in combating the Intelligence of Na- 
ture, that very reason which can be of no use but to discern it. 
What plausible arguments are detailed, respecting the danger 
of the passions, the frivolity of human life, the lo«s of fortune, 
of honour, of children ! You can easily unhouse me, divine 
Marcus Aurelius^ and you too, sceptical Montague ; but you 
have not provided for me another home. You put the staif of 
Philosophy into my hand, and say to me, walk on intrepidly ; 
make the tour of the World, begging your bread ; you are just 
as happy as we in our villas, with our wives, and respected by 
all around. But here is an evil of which you had no foresight. 
I have received, in my own country, calumny only as the re- 
tvard of all my services ; I have experienced nothing but in- 
gratitude on the part of my friends, and even of my patrons ; 
I am solitary, and have no longer the means of subsistence ; I 
am a prey to nervous disorders ; I stand in need of men, but 
my soul is troubled at the sight of them, while I reflect on the 
fatal reasons by which they are united, and feel that there is no 
possibility of interesting them, but by flattering their passions, 
and by becoming as vicious as they are. What good purpose 
does it serve to have studied virtue ? It shudders at such re- 
collections, and even without any reflection, merely at the sight 
of men. The first thing that fails me is that very reason on 

Vol. II. Cc 



202 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

which yon desire me to lean for support. AH your fine logic 
vanishes, precisely at the moment when I have most need of it. 
Put a reed into the hand of a sick person : the very first thing 
that will drop from him, when attacked by a fit of illness, is that 
same reed ; if he ventures to rest his whole weight upon it, 
most probably it will break, and perhaps run through his hand. 
Death, you tell me, will cure eveiy thing ; but in order to die 
I have no occasion for all this reasoning ; besides, I do not drop, 
in the vigour of life, into the arms of death, but dying and rea- 
soning no longer, still however feeling and suffering.* 

What is, once more, that reason of which we boast so tri- 
umphantly ? As it is nothing more than the relation of objects 
to our wants, it is reduced then to mere personal interest. 
Hence it is that we have so many family reasons, reasons of as- 
sociations, reasons of state ; reasons of all countries, and of all 
ages ; hence it is, that the reason of a young man is one thing, 
and that of an old man another ; that the reason of a woman 
differs from that of a hermit, and a soldier's from a priest's. 
Every body, says the Duke de la Rochfoucault, has reason (is 

* Thus, Relig-ion has greatly the superiority over Philosophy, in as much 
as she supports us not by our reason but by our resignation. She would 
have us not on foot and stimng about, but stretched on a bed of languishing: 
not on the theatre of the World, but reposing at the footstool of the Throne 
of Go D ; not tormented witli solicitude about futurity, but confident and com- 
posed. When books, honours, fortune, and friends forsake us, she presents 
us as a pillow for our head, not the recollection of our frivolous and theatri- 
cal virtues, but that of our insufficiency ; and instead of the arrogant maxims 
of Philosophy, she demands of us only calmness, peace, and filial confidence. 

I must make one reflection more respecting this reason, or which amounts 
to the same thing, respecting this ingenuity of which we are so vain : name- 
ly this, that it appears to be the result of our miseries. It is very remarkable, 
that the Nations which have been most celebrated for their wit, their arts, 
and their industry, were the most miserable on the face of the Earth, fVom 
their government, their passions, or their discords. Read the history of the 
lives of most men who have been distinguished by the superiority of theLr 
intellectual powers, and you will find that they were extremely miserable, 
especially in their childhood. One-eyed persons, the lame, the hump-backed 
have in general more wit than other men, because, from being more disagree- 
ably conforaned, they apply theh- reasoning powers toward observing with 
more attention the relations of Society, in the view of skreening themselves 
against it's oppression. Their humoui- it is true is commonly of the sarcastic 
kind, but this character is sufficiently applicable to what passes in tlie World 
for wit. Besides it was not Nature which rendered tliem malignant, but ^h-i 
raillery, or the contempt, of those with whom they have liver?.. 



STUDY XII. 203 

in the right). Yes, undoubtedly, and it is because every one 
has reason, that no one agrees with another. 

This sublime faculty farther undergoes, from the first mo- 
ments of it's expansion, a shock so violent, that it is rendered 
in some sort incapable of penetrating into the field of Nature. 
I do not speak of our methods and systems, which diffuse false 
lights over the first principles of human knowledge, by shewing 
us truth only in books, involved in machiner}^, and displayed on 
theatres. I have said something of those obstacles, in the objec- 
tions which I have ventured to propose against the elements of 
our Sciences ; but the maxims instilled into us from our earliest 
infancy, make a fortune^ be the Jirnt^ are alone sufficient to sub- 
vert our natural reason ; they exhibit to us the just and the un- 
just only as they stand related to our personal interests, and to 
our ambition ; they usually attach us to the fortune of some 
powerful and reputable corps, and render us as it may happen 
atheists or devotees, debauched or continent, Cartesians or New- 
tonians, just as they affect the cause which has become our mo- 
ving principle. 

Good cause then we have to mistrust-reason, as from the very 
first step it misleads us in our researches after truth and happi- 
ness. Let us enquire, whether there is not in Man some 
faculty more noble, more invariable, and of greater extent. 
Though, in prosecuting this enquiry, I have to present only 
views vague and indeterminate, I hope that men more enligh- 
tened than I can pretend to be, may one day fix them, and carry 
them much farther. In this confidence, with the feeble powers 
which I possess, I am going to engage in a career, which is 
well worthy the Reader's most serious attention. 

Descartes lays this down as the basis of the first natural truths : 
Ithink^ therefore I exist. As this Philosopher has acquired a 
very high degree of reputation, which he merited besides by 
his knowledge in Geometry, and above all by his virtues, his 
argument in proof of existence has been greatly extolled, and 
dignified with the title of axiom. But, if I am not mistaken, 
this argument labours under an essential defect, in that it has 
not the generality of a fundamental principle ; for it implicitly 
follows, that when a man does not think, he ceases to exist, or 
at least to have a proof of his existence. It follows farther, that 
the aniniitl creation, to which Descartes denied the pov,-er of 



-^04 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

thought, had no proof that they existed ; and that the greatest 
part of beings are in a state of non-existence with respect to us 
inasmuch as they excite in us simple sensations merely, of 
forms, of colours, and of movements, v/ithout any reference to 
thought. Besides, the results of human thought having been 
frequently employed, from their versatiUty, to suggest doubts 
respecting the existence of God, and even of our own, as was 
the case with the sceptic Pz/rr/w, this reasoning, like all the ope- 
rations of the human understanding, falls under well-grounded 
suspicion. 

I substitute therefore in place of the argument of Descartes^ 
that which follows, as it appears to me both more simple and 
more general ; I feel^ therefore I exist. It extends to all our 
physical sensations, which admonish us much more frequently 
of our existence than thought does. It has for it's moving 
principle an unknown faculty of the soul, which I call sentimentj 
or mental feeling, to which thought itself must refer ; for the evi- 
dence to which we attempt to subject all the operations of our 
reason is itself simply sentiment. 

I shall first make it appear, that this mysterious faculty differs 
essentially from physical sensations, and from the relations pre- 
sented to us by reason, and that it blends itself in a manner con- 
stant and invariable in every thing that we do ; so that it is, if I 
may be allowed the expression, human instinct. 

As to the difference of sentiment from physical sensation, it 
is evident that Iphigenia at the altar gives us an impression of a 
very different nature from that produced by the taste of a fruit, 
or by the perfume of a flower ; and as to that which distinguishes 
it from a process of the understanding, it is certain that the 
tears and the despair of Clytemnestra excite in us emotions of a 
very diffei-ent kind from those suggested by a satire, a comedy, 
or even if you will by a mathematical demonstration. 

Not but that reason may sometimes issue in sentiment, when 
it presents itself with evidence ; but the one is only, with relation 
to the other, what the eye is with relation to the body, that is an 
intellectual vision : besides, mental feeling appears to me to be 
the result of Laws of Nature, as reason is the result of political 
Laws. 

I shall give no farther definition of this obscure principle, but 
I shall render it sufficiently intelligible, if I am so happy as to 



STUDY XII. 20J 

make it felt. And here I flatter myself with success by first 
stating an opposition between it and reason. It is very remark- 
able that women, ^vho are always nearer to Nature, from their 
ver)^ irregularities, that men with their pretended wisdom, never 
confound these two faculties, and distinguish the first by the 
name of sensibility, or sentiment, by way of excellence, because 
it is in truth the source of our most delicious affections. They 
are continually on their guard against confounding, as most men 
do, the understanding and the heart, reason and sentiment. The 
one as we have seen is frequently our own work ; the other is 
always the work of Nature. They differ so essentially from 
each other, that if you wish to annihilate the interest of a Work 
which abounds in sentiment, you have only to introduce an infu- 
sion of reasoning. 

Tliis is a fault which the most celebrated Writers have com-> 
mitted, in all the ages in which Society completes it's separation 
from Nature. Reason produces many men of intelligence in 
ages pretendedly polished ; and sentiment, men of genius, in 
ages pretendedly barbarous. Reason varies from age to age, 
and sentiment is always the same. The errors of reason are 
local and changeable, but the truths of sentiment are invariable 
and universal. Reason makes the I Greek, the I Englishman, 
the I Turk ; and sentiment, the I Man, and the I Divine. We 
stand in need at this day of commentaries, in order to understand 
the books of antiquity which are the work of reason, such as 
those of most Historians, and Poets, satyrical and comic, as 
Martial^ Plautus^ Juvenal^ and even those of the past age, as 
Boileau and Moliere ; but none will ever be necessary in order to 
be moved by the supplications of Priam at the feet of Achilles, 
by the despair of Dido^ by the tragedies of Racine^ and the 
lively fables of La Fontaine. We frequently stand in need of 
many combinations, for the purpose of bringing to light some 
concealed reason of Nature ; but the simple and pure sentiments 
of repose, of peace, of gentle melancholy, which she inspires, 
comes to us without effort. 

Reason, I grant, procures for us pleasures of a certain kind ; 
but she discovers to us some small portion of the order of the 
Universe, she exhibits to us at the same time our own destruc- 
tion attached to the Laws of it's preservation ; she presents to 
us at Qncc the evils which are past, and those which are to 



'206 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

come J she furnishes arms to our passions at the very time when 
she is demonstrating to us their insufficiency. The farther that 
she carries us, the more are the proofs which she accumulates, 
when we come back to ourselves, of our own nothingness ; and 
so far from soothing our pains by her researches, she frequently 
aggravates them bitterly by the discoveries which she makes. 
Sentiment, on the contrary, blind in it's desires, embraces the 
monuments of all countries, and of all ages ; it is soothed to a 
delicious complacency in the midst of ruins, of combats, and of 
death itself, in contemplating an undescribable eternal existence ; 
it pursues, in all it's appetites, the attributes of Deity, infinity, 
extension, duration, power, grandeur, and glory ; it mingles the 
ardent desires of these with all our passions ; it thus communi- 
cates to them a certain sublime impulse ; and, by subduing our 
reason, itself becomes the most noble, and the most delicious 
instinct of human life. 

Sentiment demonstrates to us, much better than reason, the 
spirituality of the soul ; for reason frequently proposes to us as 
an end the gratification of our grossest passions,* whereas sen- 
timent is ever pure in it's propensities. Besides, a great many 
natural effects which escape the one, are under the controul of 
the other ; such is, as has been observed, evidence itself, which 
is merely a matter of feeling, and over which reflection exerci- 
ses no restraint : such too is our own existence. The proof of 
it is not in the province of reason ; for why is it that I exist ? 
where is the reason of it ? But I feel that I exist, and this sen- 
timent is sufficient to produce conviction. 

This being laid down, I proceed to demonstrate that there 
are two powersf in Man, the one animal, and the other intellec- 

* Listen to the voice of reason, is the incessant admonition of our moral 

Philosophers. But do they not perceive that they are putting us into 

the hand of our greatest enemy ? Has not every passion a reason at com- 
mand ? 

f It is from want of attention to those two powers, that so many celebrated 
performances, on the subject of Man, present a false colouring. Their Au- 
thors sometimes represent him to us as a metaphysical object. You would be 
tempted to think that the physical wants, which stagger even the Saints, are 
only feeble accessories of human life. They compose it merely of monads, of 
abstractions, and of moralities Others discern nothing in man but an ani- 
mal, and distinguish in him only the coarsest grossness of sense. They never 
study him without the dissecting knife in their hand, and when he is dead. 



STUDY XII. 2or 

tual, both of an opposite nature, and which by their union con- 
stitute human life ; just as the harmony of every thing on Earth 
is composed of two contraries. 

that is to say, when he is man no longer. Others know him only as a politi- 
cal individual : they perceive him only through the medium of the corres- 
pondencies of ambition. It is not man that interests them ; it is a Frenchman, 
Hii EngHshman, a Prelate, a Gentleman. Homer is the only Writer with 
wliom I am acquainted who has painted Man complete : all others, the best 
not excepted, present nothing but a skeleton of him. Tlie Iliad of Homer, if 
I may be allowed to judge, is the painting of every Man, and it is that of all 
Nature. All the passions are there, with their contrasts and their shades, the 
most intellectually refined, and the most sensually gross. Achilles sings the 
praises of the Gods to the sound of his lyre, and tends the cookery of a leg 
of mutton in a kettle. This last trait has given grievous offence to our thea- 
trical writers, who deal in the composition of artificial heroes, namely such 
ns disguise and conceal their first wants, as their authors themselves dis- 
guise their own to Society. All the passions of the human breast ai'e to be 
found in the Iliad : furious wrath in Achilles, haughty ambition in A^amem- 
no7i, patriotic valour in Hector ,• in J^estor, unimpassioned wisdom ; in Ulys- 
ses, crafty prudence ; calumny in Thersites ,- voluptuousness in Paris ,- faith- 
less love in ffelen ; conjugal love in Andromaclu; ; paternal affection in Pri- 
utn ; friendship in Putroclus ,■ and so on : and besides this, a multitude of 
Intermediate shades of all these passions, such as the inconsiderate courage 
'if Diomedes, and that of Ajax, who dared to challenge the Gods themselve^^ 
to the combat: then the oppositions of situation and of fortune which detach 
those cliaractcrs ; such as a wedding, and a country festival, depicted on 
liie formidable buckler of Achilles ; the remorse of Helen, and tlie restless 
fiolicitude of Andromache ; the flight of Hector, on the point of perishing un 
der the walls of his native city, in the sight of his people, whose only de- 
fender he was ; and the peaceful objects presented to him at that tremen 
dous moment, such as the grove ofti-ees, and the fountain to which the Tro- 
jan young women were accustomed to resort to wash their robes, and where 
they loved to assemble in happier days. 

This divine Genius having appropriated to his heroes a leading passion ol 
tJic human heart, and having put it in action in the most remarkable phases 
of human life, has allotted in like manner the attributes of Gou to a variety 
of Pivinitics, and has assigned to them the different kingdoms of Nature; to 
JVeptune, the Ocean ; to Pluto, the infernal regions ; to Juno, the air ; to Vul- 
can, the fire ; to Diana the forests ; to Pan, the flocks ; in a word, the 
Nymphs, the Naiads, nay the very Hours, have all a certain department on the. 
Earth, There is not a single flower but what is committed to the superin- 
tendence of some Deity. It is thus that he has contrived to render the habi- 
tation of Man celestial. His Work is the most sublime of Encyclopedias. All 
the characters of it are so exactly in the humaji licart, and in Nature, that 
the names by which he has designated them have become immortal. Add to 
the majesty of his plans a truth of expression which is not to be ascribed 
alone to the beauty of his language, as certain Grammarians pretend, but to 
the vast extent of his observation of Nature. It is tluis ft)r example, that he 



20S STUDIES OF NATURE. 

Certain Philosophers have taken pleasure in painting Man as 
a god. His attitude they tell us is that of command. But in 
order to his having the air of command it is necessary that 
others should have that of submission, without which he would 
find an enemy in every one of his equals. The natural empire 
of Man extends only to animals ; and in the wars which he wa- 
ges with them, or in the care which he exercises over them, he 
is frequently constrained to drop his attitude of emperor, and 
to assume that of a slave. 

Others represent Man as the perpetual object of vengeance 
to angry Heaven, and have accumulated on his existence, aU 
the miseries which can render it odious to him. This is not 
painting Man. He is not formed of a simple nature like other 
animals, each species of which invariably preserves it's proper 
character ; but of two opposite natures, each of which is itself 
farther subdivided into several passions, which form a contrast. 
In virtue of one of these natures he unites in himself all the 
wants, and all the passions of animals; and in virtue of the 
other, the ineffable sentiments of the Deity. It is to this last 
instinct, much more than to his reflective powers, that he is 
indebted for the conviction which he has of the existence of 
God; for I suppose that having by means of his reason, the 
faculty of perceiving the correspondencies which exist between 
the objects of Nature, he found out the relations which subsist 
between an island and a tree, a tree and a fruit, a fruit and his 
own wants ; he would readily feel himself determined, on see- 
ing an Island, to look for food upon it : but his reason, in shew- 
ing him the links of four natural harmonies, would not refer 



tuils the sea imjmrpled, at the moment that the Sun Is setting-; because that 
then the reflexes of the Sun in the Hoiizon render it of that colour, as I my- 
iself have frequently remarked. Virgil, who has imitated him closely, abounds 
in these beauties of observation, to which Commentators pay very little if 
any attention. In the Georgics, for instance, Virgil gives to the Spring the 
<!pi\het of blushing ; vere rubenti, says he. As his Translators and Commenta- 
tors have taken no pains to convey this, any more than a multitude of similar 
touches, 1 was long impressed with the belief that this epithet was introdu- 
<;ed merely to fill up the measure of the verse : but having remarked that 
early in Spring, the shoots and buds of most trees assumed a ruddy appear- 
ance, previously to thi'owing out their leaves, I thence was enabled to com- 
prehend what was the precise moment of the season which the Poet intend- 
'.'d to describe by v?re rubeiiti. . 



STUDY XII. 209 

the cause of them to an invisible Author, unless he had the 
sentiment of it deeply impressed on his heart. It would stop 
short at the point where his perceptions stopped, and where 
those of animals terminate. A wolf which should swim over a 
river in order to reach an island on which he perceived grass 
growing, in the hope of there finding sheep likewise, has an 
equal conception of the links which connect the four natural re- 
lations of the island, the grass, the sheep, and his own appetite : 
but he falls not down prostrate before the intelligent Being who 
has established them. 

Considering man as an animal, I know of no one to be com- 
pared with him in respect of wretchedness. First of all he is 
naked, exposed to insects, to the wind, to the rain, to the heat, 
to the c«d, and laid under the necessity, in all countries, of find- 
ing himself clothing. If his skia acquires in time sufficient 
hardness to resist the attacks of the elements, it is not till after 
cruel experiments which sometimes flay him from top to toe. 
He knows nothing naturally as other animals do. If he wants 
to cross a river, he must learn to swim ; nay, he must in his in- 
fancy be taught to walk and to speak.* There is no country so 
happily situated in which he is not obliged to prepare his food 
with considerable care and trouble. The banana and the bread- 
fruit tree give him between the Tropics provisions all the year 
round ; but then he must plant those trees, he must enclose them 
with thorny fences to preserve them from the beasts ; he must 
diy part of the fruits for a supply during the hurricane season ; 
and must build repositories in which to lay them up. Besides 
those useful vegetables are reserved for certain privileged 
.islands alone ; for over the rest of the Earth the culture of ali- 
mentary grains and roots requires a great multitude of arts and 
preparations. Suppose him to have collected around him every 
blessing that his heart can desire, the love and the pleasure 
which flow from abundance, avarice, thieves, the incursions of 
the enemy, disturb his enjoyment. He must have laws, judges, 
magazines, fortresses, confederacies, and regiments, to protect 
from without and from within his ill-fated corn-field. Finally, 
when it is in his power to enjoy with all the tranquillity of a sage 

• The very name of infant is derived from the Latin word infavn, that is to 
•say, one who cannot speak. 

Vol. IL Dd 



^l(j STUDIES OF NATUKK. 

languor takes possession of his mind ; he must have comsdics, 
balls, masquerades, amusements to prevent him from reasoning 
with himself. 

It is impossible to conceive how a Nation could exist with 
the animal passions simply. The sentiments of natural justice, 
which are the basis of legislation, are not the results of our mu- 
tual wants, as has been by some pretended. Our passions are 
not retrogressive ; they have ourselves alone for their centre. 
A family of savages, living in the midst of plenty, would be no 
more concerned about the misery of their neighbours perishing 
for want, than we concern ourselves at Paris to think that our 
sugar and coffee are costing Africa rivers of tears. 

Reason itself, united to the passions, would only stimulate 
their ferocity ; for it would supply them with new arguments 
long after their desires wcra gratified. It is, in most men, no^ 
thing more than the relation between beings and their wants, 
that is their personal interest. Let us examine the effect of it, 
combined with love and ambition, the two tyrants of human life. 

Let us first suppose a state entirely governed by Love, such 
as that on the banks of the Lignon, imagined by the ingenious 
cPUrfeius. I beg leave to ask. Who would be at the trouble of 
building houses there, and of labouring the ground r Must we 
not suppose, that such a country would contain servants whose 
industiy should compensate the idleness of their masters :' Will 
not those servants be reduced to the necessity of abstaining from 
making love, m order that their masters may be incessantly em- 
ployed in it? Besides, in what manner are the old people of 
both sexes to pass their time ? A fine spectacle for them truly, 
to behold their children always indulging in the dalliance of the 
tender passion ! Would not such a spectacle become to them a 
perpetual source of regret, of ill-humour, of jealousy, as it is 
among those of our own country ? Such a government, in truth, 
were it even in the islands of the South-Sea, under groves of 
the cocoa and bread-fruit trees, where there was nothing to do 
but to eat and make love, would soon be torn with discord and 
oppressed with languor. 

But, on the supposition that the principle of social reason were 
to oblige every family to labour each for its own support, and 
to introduce more variety into their way of living, by inviting 
to it our arts and sciences j it would quickly accelerate their de-; 



StUDY XII. 211 

&truction. We must by no means depend on ever hearing there 
any of those affecting dialogues which (VUrfeius puts into the 
mouth of Aslrxa and Celadon ; they are dictated neither by ani- 
mal love nor by enlightened reason. Both of these employ a 
ver>' different logic. When a lover, illuminated there with the 
science which he had borrowed of us, wished to inspire his mis- 
tress with a mutual passion, if however it were needful to em- 
ploy discourse in order to accomplish this, he would talk to her of 
springs, of masses, of attractions, of fermentations, of the elec- 
tric spark, and of the other physical causes which determine, 
according to our modern systems, the propensities of the two 
sexes, and the movements of the passions. Political reasons 
would interpose, and affix the seal to their union, by stipulating, 
in the melancholy and mercenary language of our contracts, for 
dowries, maintenances, redemptions, pin-monies, post-obits^ 
But the personal reason of each contracting party would quickly 
separate them. As soon as a man saw his wife overtaken with 
disease, he would say to her ; " My temperament calls for a 
" wife who enjoys health, and constrains me to abandon you.'' 
She would answer him undoubtedly, in order to preserve con- 
sistency : " You do well to obey the dictates of Nature. I 
" should in like manner, have looked out for another husband 
" had you been in my place." A son would say to his aged 
^nd declining father : " You begot me for your pleasure, it is 
" time that I should live for mine." Where should we find 
citizens disposed to unite for maintaining the laws of such a so- 
ciety ? Where find soldiers disposed to meet death in defence 
of it, and a magistrate who would undertake to govern it ? I say 
nothing of an infinite number of other disorders, which follow 
in the train of that blind and headstrong passion, even when di- 
rected by cool and dispassionate reason. 

If, on the other hand, a Nation were under the dominion of 
ambition solely, it would come still sooner to destruction j either 
from external enemies, or by means of it's own citizens. It is, 
first, difficult to imagine how it could be reduced to form, under 
the authority of one Legislator, for how can we conceive the 
possibility of ambitious men voluntSrily submitting to another 
man ? Those who have united them, as Romulus^ Mahomet^ and 
all founders of Nations, have commanded attention and obe- 
dience only by speaking in the name of the Deity. But sup- 



212 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

posing this union by whatever means accomplished, Could such 
an association ever be happy ? Let Historians extol conquering 
Rome ever so highly, Is it credible that her citizens then de- 
served the appellation of fortunate ? What, while they were 
spreading terror over the Globe, and causing floods of tears to 
flow, were there at Rome no hearts oppressed with terror, and 
no eye overflowing for the loss of a son, of a father, of a hus- 
band, of a lover ? Were the slaves, who constituted by far the 
greatest part of her inhabitants, were they happy ? Was the 
General of the Roman army himself happy, crowned with lau- 
rels as he was, and mounted on a triumphal car, around which, 
in conformity to a military law, his own soldiers were singing 
songs in which his faults were exposed, to prevent his waxing 
proud and forgetting himself ? And when Providence permitted 
Paulus Emilius to triumph over a King of the Macedonians, 
iind his poor children, who stretched out their little hands to 
the Roman people to excite compassion, it was so ordered that 
the conqueror should at that ver}'- season suffer the loss of his^ 
own children, that no one might be allowed to triumph with 
impunity over the tears of Mankind. 

This very People, however, so disposed to pursue their own 
glory through the calamity of others, were obliged, in order to 
dissemble the Iwrror of it, to veil the tears of the Nations with 
the interest of the Gods, as we disguise with fire the flesh of the 
animals which is to serve for food. Rome, following the order 
of destiny, was to become at length the capital of the Worlds 
She armed her ambition with a celestial reason, in order to ren- 
der her victorious over powers the most formidable, and to curb 
by means of it the ferocity of her own citizens, by inuring them 
to the practice of sublime virtue. What would they have be- 
come, had they given themselves up without restraint to that 
furious instinct ? They would have resembled the savages of 
America, who burn their enemies alive, and devour their flesh 
still streaming with blood. This Rome at last experienced, 
Avhen her Religion presented no longer any thing to her en- 
lightened inhabitants except unmeaning imagery. Then were 
seen the two passions natural to the heart of Man, ambition and 
love, inviting to a residence within her walls the luxury of 
Asia, the corruptive arts of Greece, proscriptions, murders, 
poisonings, conflagrations, and giving her up a prey to barba- 



STUDY XII. 213 

rous Nations. The Theutates of the Gauls then issuing from 
the forests of the North, and arriving at the Capitol, made the 
Roman Jupiter to tremble in his turn. 

Our reasons of state are in modem times less sublime, but arc 
not for that less fatal to the repose of Mankind, of which a 
judgment may be formed by the wars of Europe, which arc 
continually disturbing the Globe. A Nation delivered up to 
it's passions, and to simple reasons of state^ would speedily ac- 
cumulate upon itself all the miseries incident to humanity ; but 
Providence has implanted in the breast of Man a sentiment 
which serves as a counterbalance to the weight of these, by di- 
recting his desires far beyond the objects of this World ; the 
sentiment I mean is that of the existence of the Deity. Man 
is not Man because he is a reasonable animal, but because he is 
a religious animal. 

It is remarked by Cicero and Plutarch^ that there was not a 
single People known up to their time, among whom there were 
no traces of religion to be found. The sentiment of Dtity is 
natural to Man. It is that illumination which St. John deno- 
minates the true Light^ which lighteth every Man that coineth in- 
to the World. I find great fault with certain modem Authors, 
and even some of them Missionaries, for having asserted that 
certain Nations were destitute of all sense of Deity.* This is 
in my apprehension the blackest of calumnies with which a Na- 
tion can be branded, because it of course entirely strips them 
of the existence of every virtue ; and if such a Nation betrays 
any appearance of virtue, it can only be under the impulse of 
the most abominable of vices, which is hypocrisy : for there can 
be no virtue distinct from Religion. But there is not a single- 
one of those inconsiderate Writers, who does not at the same 
time himself furnish the means of refuting his own imputation ; 
for some of them acknowledge that these very atheistical Na- 
tions on certain days present homage to the Moon ; or that they 

• I agree, in this respect, with our author. A nation without some sense 
of Deity, I do not behcve does exist. It has, indeed, been said, that the 
Gipsies, a vag^abond race from Hindustan, acknowledge not the existence of 
a superior being, and have no intimations, however obscure, of a future state. 
If tliis be true (but I am well persuaded it is not true), it is one of tlic moi>V 
remarkable facts in the history of the hr.man species. — B. S. II. 



214 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

retire into the woods to perform certain ceremonies, the know- 
ledge of which they carefully conceal from strangers. 

Father Gobien, among others, in his History of the Marian* 
nes Islands, after having affirmed that their inhabitants had no 
knowledge of any Deity, and discovered not the slightest idea 
of Religion, tells us immediately after, that they practise invo- 
cation of the dead, to whom they give the appellation of anitis, 
whose skulls they preserve in their houses, and to which they 
ascribe the power of controlling the elements, of changing the 
seasons, and of restoring health ; that they are persuaded of the 
immortality of the soul, and acknowledge a Paradise and a 
Hell. Such opinions clearly demonstrate that they have ideas 
of the Deity. 

All Nations have the sentiment of the existence of God ; not 
that they all raise themselves to Him after the manner of a 
Newton and a Socrates^ in contemplation of the general harmo- 
ny of his Works, but by dwelling on those of his benefits which 
interest them the most. The Indian of Peru worships the 
Sun ; he of Bengal, the Ganges, which fertilizes his plains ; 
the black lolof, the Ocean, which cools his shores ; the Samoiede 
of the North, the rein-deer which feeds him. The wandering 
Iroquois demands of the Spirits which preside over the lakes 
and the forests plentiful fishing and hunting seasons. Many 
Nations worship their Kings. There is not one of them which, 
in order to render more dear to men those august dispensers 
of their felicity, have not called in the intervention of some Di- 
vinity for the purpose of consecrating their origin. Such are 
in general the Gods of the Nations : but when the passions in- 
terpose, and darken among them this divine instinct, and blend 
with it either the madness of ambition, or the seduction of vo- 
luptuousness, you behold them prostrating themselves before 
serpents, crocodiles, and other gods too abominable to be men- 
tioned. You behold them offering in sacrifice the blood of 
their enemies and the virginity of their daughters. Such as is 
the character of a People such is it's religion. Man is carried 
along by this celestial impulse so irresistibly, that when he cea- 
ses to take the Deity for his model, he never fails to make one 
after his own image. 

There are therefore two powers in Man, the one animal, the 
other divine. The first is incessantly giving him the sentiment 



STUDY XIL 215 

of his wretchedness ; the second constantly awakening in him 
that of his ovm excellence : and from their conflicts are pro- 
duced the varieties and the contradictions of human life. 

By means of the sentiment of our wretchedness it is that we 
become alive to every thing which presents to us the idea of 
asylum and protection, of ease and accommodation. Hence it 
is that most men cherish the thought of calm retreats, of abun- 
dance, and of all the blessings which bountiful Nature has pro- 
vided on the Earth to supply our wants. It is this sentiment 
which gave to Love the chains of Hymen^ in order that man 
might one day find the companion of his pains in that of his 
pleasures ; and that children might be insured of the assistance 
of their parents. It is this whfch renders the warm and easy 
tradesman so eager after relations of court-intrigues, of battles, 
and descriptions of tempests, because dangers external and dis- 
tant increase internal happiness and security. This sentiment 
frequently mingles with the moral affections : it looks for sup- 
port in friendship, and for encouragement in commendation. It 
is this which renders us attentive to the promises of the ambi- 
tious man, when we are eager to follow him like slaves, seduced 
by the ideas of protection with which he amuses us, Thus the 
sentiment of our wretchedness is one of the most powerful bonds 
of political society, though it attaches us to the Earth. 

The sentiment of Deity impels us in a contrary direction.'^- 
Ix was this which conducted Love to the altar, and dictated to 

* Wlienever any one has lost tins first of harmonics all the others follow it. 
Does it not well deserve to be remarked, that all the Writings of Atheists are 
Insufferably dry and uninteresting? They sometimes fill you with astonish- 
ment, but never do they touch the heart. They exhibit caricatures onl)-, or 
^gantic ideas. They are totally destitute of order, of propoilion, of sensibi- 
lity. I do not exempt from this censure any one except the poem of Lucretius 
But this very exception, as has been said before, only confirms the truth of 
my observation ; for when this Poet wished to please, he found himself under 
the necessity of introducing Deity, as it is evident from his exordium, whicli 
commences with that beautiful aposU'ophc : Alma Venus, &.c. Everj- where 
else, when he sets about a display of the Philosopliy of Epicurvs his insipidi 
ty becomes absolutely insupportablc.-j" 

\ I cannot agree in sentiment with Saint-Pierre, tliat Lucretius and the othei 
Epicureans were Atheists. I grant that the notions of God entertained by 
these Pliilosophers were much less sublime than those which have been con- 
veyed to us through the medium of the Sacred Writings : or than those 
wlijch Arise in/he mind ef tJve virtuon? PhUosopher, who has studied witli 



216 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

the lips of the Lover the first vows of fidelity ; it devoted the 
first children to Heaven, while as yet there was no such thing as 
political Law ; it rendered Love sublime, and Friendship gene- 
rous ; with one hand it succoured the miserable, and opposed 
the other to tyrants ; it became the moving principle of genero- 
sity and of every virtue. Satisfied with the consciousness of 
having deserved well of Mankind, it nobly disdained the recom- 
pense of applause. When it shewed itself in arts and sciences, 
it became the ineffable charm which transported us in contem- 
plating them : the moment it withdrew from them, languor suc- 
ceeded. It is this sentiment which confers immortality on the 
men of genius who discover to us in Nature new relations of in- 
telligence. 

When these two sentiments happen to cross each other, that 
is, when we attach the divine instinct to perishable objects, and 
the animal mstinct to things divine, our life becomes agitated 
by contradictory passions. Tliis is the cause of those innume- 
rable frivolous hopes and fears with which men are tormented. 
My fortune is made, says one, I have enough to last mejhr eve}-; 
and tomorrow he drops into the grave. How wretched am I ! 
says another, I am undone yor ever ; and death is at the door to 
deliver him from all his woes. We are bound down to life, said 
Michael Montaig-ne^ by the merest toys ; by a glass : yes, and 
wherefore ? Because the sentiment of immortality is impressed 

ittention, the forms, the structure, the functions, anrl the uses, of the animal 
and vegetable bodies, by which we are surrounded. I say nothing of the 
other parts of Nature. — I think Mr. Good, in his truly valuable work, which I 
have ah-eady quoted, has ably vindicated the Epicm-eans from the charge of 
Atheism ; and I do not hesitate to agree in sentiment with this learned mtI- 
ter, tliat I/7icretius, in the following inimitable lines, but not in these alone, 
■ mphatically acknowledges the existence of a Supreme Being : 

*' Usque adeo res luimana.s Vis abdita quacdam 
" Oblerit : ct pulchros fasces ssevasque secures, 
' Proculcarc, ac ludibrio slbi habere, videtur." 

Thus translated by Good. 
" So, from his awful shades some Power unseen 
" O'erthrov.s all human greatness ! treads to dust 
" Rods, ensigns, crowns — the proudest pomps of state, 
•■ And huigjxs at all the mockery of man !" 

T/te ,Vatwc of things Book v. I. 1260.-1263. 

— B. ^ B 



STUDY XII. 217 

«n that glass. If life and death frequently appear insnpportable 
to men, it is because they associate the sentiment ot their end 
with that of death, and the sentiment of infinity with that of 
life. Mortals, if you wish to live happy, and to die in compo- 
sure, do no let your Laws offer violence to those of Nature. 
Consider that at death, all the troubles of the animal come to a 
period ; the cravings of the body, diseases, persecutions, calum- 
nies, slavery of every kind, the rude combats of man's passions 
with himself, and with others. Consider that at death, all the 
enjo^Tnents of a moral being commence ; the rewards of virtue, 
and of the slightest acts of justice and of humanity, undervalued 
perhaps or despised by the World, but which have in some mea" 
sure brought us nearer, while we were upon the Eardi, to a Be- 
ing righteous and etemaL 

When these two instincts unite in the same place, they confer 
upon us the highest pleasure of which our nature is susceptible ; 
for in that case our two natures, if I may thus express myself, 
enjoy at once.* I am going to trace a slight sketch of the com- 
bination of their harmonies ; nfcer which we shall pursue die 
track of the celestial sentiment which is natural to us, as mani- 
fested in our most ordinary sensations. 

Let me suppose you then, Reader, disgusted, and wearied 
out with the disorders of Society, in search of some happy spot 
toward the extremity of Africa, on which the foot of European 
never alighted. Sailing along the Mediterranean, your vessel is 
tossed by the violence of the tempest, and shipwrecked upon a 
rock, just as it is beginning to grow dark. Through the favour 
of Heaven you scramble safe to land : you flee for shelter to a 
grotto, rendered visible by the glare of the lightning, at the bot- 
tom of a little valley. There, retired to the covert of this asy- 
lum, you hear all night long the thunder roaring, and the rain 
descending in torrents. At day break you discovei- behind you 
an amphitheatre of enormous rocks, perpendicularly steep as a 
wall. From their bases, here and there start out clumps of fig- 

• To these two Instincts may be referred a.11 tlic sensations of life which 
frequently seem to be contradictory. For example, if habit and novelty be 
agreeable to us, it is that habit gives us confidence respecting our plivsical 
relations, which are always the same ; and novelty promises new points of 
view to our divine instinct, which is ever aiming at the extension of it's rn- 
ioyments. 

Vol. II. E e 



218 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

trees, covered over with white and purple fruit, and tufts of ca- 
robs loaded with brown pods ; their summits are crowned with 
pines, wild olive-trees, and cypresses bending under the vio- 
lence of the winds. The echoes of these rocks repeat in the air 
the confused howling of the tempest, and the hoarse noise of 
the raging Sea, perceptible to the eye at a distance. But the 
little valley where you are is the abode of tranquillity and re^ 
pose. In it's mossy declivities the sea-lark builds her nest, and 
on these solitary strands the mavis expects the ceasing of the 
storm. 

By this time the first fires of Aurora are lengthening over the 
flowery stachys, and over the violet beds of the thyme which 
clothe the swelling hillocks . The brightening rays disclose to 
view, on the summit of an adjoining eminence, a cottage over- 
shaddowed with trees. Out of it issue a shepherd, his wife, and 
his daughter, who take the path that leads to the grotto, with 
vases and baskets on their heads. It is the spectacle of your 
distress which attracts these good people toward you. They 
are provided with fire, fruits, bread, wine, clothing, for your re-r 
lief. They vie with each other in rendering you the offices of 
hospitality. The wants of the body being satisfied, those of the 
mind begin to call for gratification. Your eye eagerly wanders 
along the surface of the deep, and you are enquiring within 
yourself, '' On what part of the World am I thrown ~r" The 
shepherd perceives your anxiety, and removes it, addressing 
you in these words : " That distant Island which you see to the 
" North is Mycone. There is Delos a little to the left, and 
^' Paros directly in front. That in which we are is Naxos ; you 
" are on that very part of the island where Ariadne was formerly 
" abandoned by Theseus. It was on that long bank of white 
" sand which projects below into the Sea, that she passed the 
" days, with her eyes rivetted on that point of the Horizon 
" where the vessel of her faithless lover at length ceased to b^ 
" visible : and into this very grotto where you now are, she re- 
" tired at night to mourn over his departure. To the right be- 
" tween these two little hills, on the top of which you behold 
*■' some confused ruins, stood a flourishing city named Naxos, 
" It's female inhabitants, touched with the misfortunes of the 
•' daughter of Minos, resorted hither to look for her, and to 
'•'' comfort her. They endeavoured at first to divert her atten- 



STUDY XII. 219 

" tion by amusing conversation ; but nothing could give her 
" pleasure but the name and the recollection of her beloved 
" Theseus. These damsels then counterfeited letters from that 
" Hero, breathing the tenderest affection, and addressed to A7-i- 
" adne. They flew to deliver them to her, and said, Take com- 
" fort, beautiful Ariadne^ Theseus will soon return: Theseus 
" thinks of nothing but you. Ariadne^ in an ecstacy of delight, 
" read the letters, and with a trembling hand hastened to answer 
" them. The Naxian girls took charge of her answers, and 
" promised to have them speedily conveyed to Theseus^ in this 
" manner they amused her grief. But when they perceived 
*' that the sight of the Sea plunged her more and more into me- 
" lancholy, they decoyed her into those extensive groves which 
*' you observe below in the plain. There they invented every 
" species of festivity that could lull her fond regret to rest. 
" Sometimes they formed around her coral dances, and repre-* 
" sented, by the linking of their hands, the various windings of 
" the labyrinth of Crete, out of which by her aid escaped the 
" happy Theseus : sometimes they affected to put to death the 
" terrible Minotaur. The heart of Ariadne expanded to the 
" perception of joy at the sight of representations which called 
" to her remembrance the power of her father, the glory of her 
*' lover, and the triumph of her own charms, which had repair- 
" ed the destiny of Athens : but when the winds conveyed to her 
" ear, through the music of the tabor and of the flute, the dis- 
" tant noise of the billows breaking on the shore from which 
" she saw the cruel Theseus take his departure, she turned her 
*' face toward the Sea and began to Weep. Thus the Naxians 
** were made sensible that unfortunate love can find, in the very 
" lap of gaiety, the means of embittering it's anguish ; and that 
" the recollection of pain is to be lost only by losing that of 
" pleasure. They endeavoured therefore to remove Ariadne 
" from scenes and sounds which were continually recalling the 
" idea of her lover. They persuaded her to visit their citv, 
" where they provided for her magnificent banquets, in supurb 
" apartments raised on columns of granite. Into these no male 
*' was permitted to enter, and no noise from without could make 
" itself heard. They had taken care to cover the pavement, 
'' the walls, the doors, and the windows, with the richest tapes- 
•' trv, on wliich v/cre represented meadows, vineyards, and en 



220 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

" chanting solitudes. A thousand lamps and torches dazzled the 
" eye. They made Ariadne seat herself in the midst of them 
" on cushions ; they placed a coronet of ivy, with it's black 
*' clusters, upon her flaxen hair, and around here pale forehead ; 
" then they arranged at her feet urns of alabaster replenished 
" with the choicest wines ; they poured them out into cups of 
" gold, which they presented to her, saying; Drink, lovely 
" daughter of Minos ; this island produces the richest presents 
" of Bacchus, Drink, wine dissipates care. AriadnCj with a 
" smile, suffered herself to be persuaded* In a little time the 
" roses of health re-appeared on her countenance, and a report 
" was immediately spread over Naxos that Bacchus was come 
" to the relief of the mistress of Theseus. The inhabitants, 
" transported with joy, reared a temple to that God, of which 
" you still see some columns and the frontispiece on that rock in 
" the midst of the waves. But wine only added fuel to the love 
" of Ariadne. She gradually pined away, a victim to her sad 
" regrets, and even to her fond hopes. See there at the extremi- 
" ty of this valley, on a little hillock covered with marine-worm- 
" wood, is her tomb, and her statue still looking toward the Sea. 
" You can scarcely now distinguish in it the figure of a female ; 
" but there is even now discernible in it the restless attitude of 
*' a lover. This monument, as well as every other of the coun- 
*' try, has been mutilated by time, and still more by the hand of 
" barbarians; but the memory of suffering virtue is not, on the 
" Earth, at the mercy of tyrants. The tomb of Ariadne is in 
" the possession of the Turks, and her crov,m is planted among 
" the stars. As for us, escaped from the notice of the powers 
'-'' of this World, by means of our very obscurity, we have 
*' through the goodness of Heaven found liberty at a distance 
" from the Great, and happiness in a desert. Stranger, if you 
*' are still capable of being affected by the blessings of Nature, 
" it is in your power to share them with us." 

At this recital, the gentle tears of humanity trickle down the 
cheeks of his spouse, and of his youthful daughter, as she 
breathes a sigh to the memory oi Ariadne; and I greatly doubt 
whether an Atheist himself, who acknowledges nothing else in 
Nature but the Laws of matter and of motion, could be insen- 
sible to those present correspondencies, and those ancient recol- 
lections. 



STUDY XII. 221 

Voluptuous men ! Greece alone, you tell me, presents scenes 
and points of view so tenderly affecting. Ariadne accordingly 
has a place in every garden ; Ariadne presents herself to view in 
every collection of painting. From the turret of your own cas- 
tle, throw your eye over the plains below. As the prospect 
gradually extends, it terminates in a horizon much more beau- 
tiful than that of desolated Greece. Your apartment is more 
commodious than a grotto, and your sophas much softer than 
the turf. The undulation and the murmuring sound of your 
flower}' meadows are more grateful to the sense than those of the 
billows of the Mediterranean. Your money and your own gar- 
dens can supply you with greater variety of the choicest wines 
and fruits than all the islands of the Archipelago could produce. 
Would you blend with these delights that of the Deity ? Behold 
on yonder hill, that small parish church encircled by aged elms. 
Among the young women who there assemble, under it's rustic 
portico, there may be undoubtedly some forlorn Ariadne, betray- 
ed by a faithless lover.* She is not made of marble but of liv- 
ing flesh and blood ; she is not a Greek but a French-woman 
she is not comforted but insulted by her companions. Visit her 
humble abode, and sooth her anguish. Do good in this life, 
which is passing away with the rapidity of a torrent. Do good, 
not out of ostentation, and by the hands of a stranger ; but for 

* There are in our own plains young females mucli more respectable 
than Ariadne, to whom oui* Historians, wlio make such a parade of virtue, pay 
no manner of attention. A person of my acquaintance observed one Sunday, 
at the gate of a country church, a young woman at prayer, quite alone, while 
they were chanting vespers within. As he remained some time in the place, 
he observed, for several Sundays successively, that same young woman, \\\\o 
never once entered the church during the service. Being mightily struck 
with this singularity of beliaviour, he enquired into the meaning of it of .some 
others of the female peasants, who answered him that it must be her own 
will merely that determined her to stop in the porch, as they knew of nothing 
that shonld prevent lier going in, adding, that they had frequently urged her 
to accompany them, but in vain. At last, desirous of having the sohitionof 
this mystery, he addressed himself to the yoimg woman herself whose con- 
duct apjjcared to him so very extraordinaiy. She appeared at first somcwha\; 
disconcerted, but presently collecting courage, " Sir," said she, " I had a 
" lover, who took advantage of my frailty. I became pregnant, and my lover 
" falling sick, died, without making mc his wife. It is my desire, that a vo 
" luntary exclusion from ciiurch for life should serve as some atonement f .• 
" my fault, and as a warning to my companions " 



222 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

the sake of heaven, and with your own hand. The fruit of 
virtue looses it's flavour when gathered by another and not your- 
self. Ah ! if you would, in person, speak an encouraging word 
to her, under that load of depression ; if by your sympathy you 
raise her in her own esteem, you will perceive how, under a 
sense of your goodness, her forehead is overspread with a blush, 
her eyes suffused Avith tears, her convulsive lips move without 
speaking, and her heart, long oppressed with shame, expand to 
the approach of a comforter, as to the sentiment of the Deity, 
You will then perceive in the human figure, touches far beyond 
the reach of the chisels of Greece, and the pencil of a Fmi Dyk, 
The felicity of an unfortunate young woman will cost you much 
less than the statue of Ariadne : and instead of giving celebrity to 
the name of an artist in your hotel, for a few years, this will im- 
mortalize your own, and cause it to last long after you are gone 
from hence, every time she says to her companions and to her 
children : " It was a god came to succour me in the day of my 
" distress." 

We now proceed to trace the instinct of Divinity in our phy- 
sical sensations, and shall conclude this Study by the sentiments 
of the soul which are purely intellectual. Thus we shall attempt 
to convey a faint idea of the Nature of Man. 

OF PHYSICAL SENSATIONS. 

All the physical sensations are in themselves so many testi- 
monies of our misery. If Man is so sensible to the pleasure of 
the touch it is because he is naked all his body over. He is 
under the necessity, in order to clothe himself, of stripping the 
quadruped, the plant, and the worm. If almost all vegetables 
and animals are laid under contribution to supply him with 
food, it is because he is obliged to employ a great deal of cook- 
ery, and many combinations, in preparing his aliments. Nature 
has treated him with much severity ; for he is the only one of 
animals for the wants of which she has made no immediate pro- 
vision. Our philosophers have not sufficiently reflected on this 
perplexing distinction. How ! a worm provided with it's au- 
gur or it's file ; the insect enters into life in the midst of a pro- 
fusion of fruit proper for his subsistence ; he by and by finds 
in himself the means of spinning and weaving his own garment ; 
after that, he transforms himself into a gaudy butterfly, and 
ranges uncontrcled, abandoning himself to all the delights of 



STUDY XII. 223 

love, and re-perpetuating his species without anxiety, and with- 
out remorse ; whereas the son of a king is bom completely na- 
ked, amidst tears and groans, standing in need all his life long 
of the assistance of another ; under the necessity of maintaining 
an unremitting conflict with his own species, from within, or 
from without, and frequently finding in himself his most formi- 
dable enemy ! Of a truth, unless we are all only children of 
dust, it would be a thousand times better to enter upon exis- 
tence under the form of an insect, than under that of an Em- 
peror. But man has been abandoned to the most abject miseiy 
only that he may have uninterrupted recourse to the first of 
powers. 

Of the Sense of Tasting. 

There is no one physical sensation but what awakens in Man 
some sentiment of the Deity. 

To begin with the grossest of all our senses, that which re- 
lates to eating and drinking ; all Nations, in the savage state, 
have entertained the belief that the Divinity had need to sup- 
port life by the same means that men do : hence in all religions 
the origin of sacrifice. Hence also has farther proceeded, in 
many Nations, the custom of placing viands on the tombs of the 
dead. The wives of the American savages extend this mark 
of solicitude even to infants who die upon the breast. After 
having bestowed upon them the right of sepulture, they come 
once a day for several weeks, and press from the nipple a few 
drops of milk upon the grave of the departed suckling.* This 
is positively affirmed by the Jesuit Charlevoix^ who was fre- 
quently an eye-witness of the fact. Thus the sentiment of 
Deity, and that of the immortality of the soul, are interwoven 
with our affections the most completely animal, and especially 
with maternal tenderness. 

But Man has not satisfied himself with admitting intellectual 
beings to a share of his repast, and in some measure with in- 
viting them to his table ; he has found the means of elevating 
himself to their rank, by the physical effects of those very ali- 
ments. It is singularly remarkable, that several savage Nations, 
have been discovered, who scarcely possessed industry sufficient 

* Sec Father Charlevoix's Travels through America. 



224 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

to procure food for themselves ; but not one who had not in- 
vented the means of getting drunk. Man is the only animal who 
is sensible of that pleasure. Other animals are content to re- 
main in their sphere. Man is making perpetual efforts to get 
out of his. Intoxication elevates the mind. All religious fes- 
tivals among Savages, and even among polished Nations, end in 
feasting, in which men drink till reason is gone: they begin it 
is true with fasting, but intoxication closes the scene. Man re- 
nounces human reason that he may excite in himself emotions 
that are divine. The effect of intoxication is to convey the soul 
into the bosom of some deity. You always hear topers cele- 
brating in their songs, Bacchus, Mars, Venus, or the God of 
Love. It is farther very remarkable, that men do not abandon 
themselves to blasphemy till they arrive at a state of intoxica- 
tion ; for it is an Instinct as common to the soul, to cleave to 
the Deity when in it's natural state, as to abjure Him when it 
is corrupted by vice. 

Of the Sense of Smelling; 

The pleasures of smell are peculiar to Man ; for I do not 
comprehend under it the olfactory emanations by which he forms 
a judgment of his aliments, and which are common to him with 
most animals. Man alone is sensible to perfumes,* and em- 
ploys them to give more energy to his passions. Mahomet said 
that they elevated his soul to Heaven. Whatever may be in this, 
the use of them has been introduced into all the religious cere- 
monies, and into the political assemblies, of many Nations. The 
Brasilians, as well as all the Savages of North- America, never 
deliberate on any object of importance without smoking tobacco 
in a calumet. It is from this practice that the calumet is be- 
come, among all those Nations, the symbol of peace, of war, of 
alliance, according to the accessories with Avhich it is accom- 
panied. 

* This is, without doubt, a mistake. Not only is the sense of smelling' very 
extensively diffused through the animal world, but I believe it is a fact, that 
mu7jt/ animals, besides man, enjoy tlie " pleasures" of smell. What other 
explanation than this of the attachment of the cat to the odour of valerian, 
and that of the Seneca-grass of the United States ? I could mention other in- 
stances. I believe however, that man, more tlian any other animal, derives 
pleasures from the odours of bodies.— B. S. B. 



STUDY XII. 225 

It is undoubtedly from the same custom of smoking, which 
was common to the Scythians, as Herodotus relates, that the ca- 
duceus of Mercury^ which has a striking resemblance to the ca- 
lumet of the Americans, and which appears like it to have been 
nothing but a pipe, became the symbol of commerce. Tobac- 
co increases in some measure the powers of the understanding, 
by producing a species of intoxication in the nerves of the brain. 
Lery tells us that the l.rasilians smoke tobacco till it makes them 
drunk. It is to be observed, that those nations have foimd out 
the most cephalic plant of the whole vegetable kingdom, and 
that the use of it is the most universally diffused of all those 
which exist on the Globe, the vine and the corn-plants not ex- 
cepted. I have seen it cultivated in Finland, beyond Viburg, 
in about the sixty-first degree of North Latitude. The habit 
of using it becomes so powerful, that a person who has acquir- 
ed it, will rather forego bread for a day than his tobacco. This 
plant is nevertheless a real poison ; it affects at length the ol- 
factory nerves, and sometimes the sight. iJut Man is ever dis- 
posed to impair his physical constitution, provided he can 
strengthen in himself the intellectual sentiment. 

Of the Sense of Seeing. 

Every thing that has been said, in detailing certain general 
Laws of Nature, harmonies, conformities, contrasts, and oppo- 
sitions, refers principally to the sense of seeing. I do not speak 
of adaptation or correspondence ; for this belongs to the senti- 
ment of reason, and is entirely distinct from matter. The 
other relations are in truth founded on the i-eason itself of Na- 
ture, which communicates delight to us by means of colours 
and forms generative and generated, and inspires melancholy 
by those which announce decomposition and destruction. 13ut 
without entering upon that vast and inexhaustible subject, I 
shall at present confine myself to certain optical effects, v.hich 
involuntarily excite in us the sentiment of some of the attributes 
of Deity. 

One of the most obvious causes of the pleasure which we 
derive from the sight of a gi-eat tree, arises from the sentiment 
of infinity kindled in us, by it's pyramidical form. The de- 
crease of it's different tiers of branches and tints of verdure, 
which are always lighter at the extremities of the tree than in 

Vol. XL F f 



226 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

the rest of it's foliage, give it an apparent elevation which ne- 
ver terminates. We experience the same sensations in the ho- 
rizontal plan of landscapes, in which we frequently perceive 
several successive hilly elevations flying away one behind the 
other, till the last melt away into the Heavens. Nature pro- 
duces the same effect in vast plains, by means of the vapours 
which rise from the banks of the lakes, or from the channels of 
the brooks and rivers that wander through them ; their contours 
are multiplied in proportion to the extent of the plain, as I have 
many a time remarked. Those vapours present themselves on 
different plans ; sometimes they stand still, like curtains drawn 
along the skirts of the forests ; sometimes they mount into co- 
lumns over the brooks which meander through the meadows : 
sometimes they are quite gray ; at other times they are illumi- 
ned and penetrated by the rays of the Sun. Under all these as- 
pects they display to us, if I may venture to use the expression, 
several perspectives of infinity in infinity itself. 

I say nothing of the delightful spectacle which the Heavens 
sometimes present to us in the disposition of the clouds. I do 
not know of any Philosopher who has so much as suspected 
that their beauties were subjected to Law. One thing is cer- 
tain, namely, that no one animal which lives in the light is in- 
sensible to their effects. I have spoken in another place some- 
what of their characters of amability or terror, which are the 
same with those of amiable or dangerous animals and vege- 
tables, conformable to those of the days and of the seasons 
which they announce. The Laws of them which I have sketch- 
ed, will suggest delicious subjects of meditation to any person 
disposed to study them, excepting those who are determined to 
apply the mechanical medium of barometers and thermome- 
ters. These instruments are good for nothing but the regula- 
tion of the atmosphere of our chambers. They too frequently 
conceal from us the action of Nature ; they announce, in most 
instances, the same temperatures in the days which set the 
birds a-singing, and in those which reduce them to silence. 
The harmonies of Heaven are to be felt only by the heart of 
Man. All Nations, struck by their ineffable language, raise 
their hands and their eyes to Heaven in the involuntary emo- 
tions of joy or of grief. 



STUDY XII. .227 

Reason however tells them that God is every where. How 
comes it that no one stretches out his arms toward the Earth, 
or to the Horizon, in the attitude of invocation ? Whence comes 
the sentiment which whispers to them, God is in Heaven ? Is it 
because Heaven is the place where light dwells ? Is it because 
the light itself which discloses all objects to us, not being like 
our terrestrial substances liable to be divided, corrupted, de- 
stroyed, and confined, seems to present something celestial in 
it's substance ? 

It is to the sentiment of infinity which the sight of the Hea- 
vens inspires, that we must ascribe the taste of all nations for 
building temples on the summit of a mountain, and the invin- 
cible propensity which the Jews felt, like other Nations, to 
worship upon high places. There is not a mountain all over 
the islands of ihe Archipelago but wiiat has it's church ; nor 
a hill in China but what has it's pagoda. If, as some Philo- 
sophers pretend, we never form a judgment of the nature of 
things but from the mechanical results of a comparison with 
ourselves, the elevation of mountains ought to humiliate our in- 
significance. 13ut the truth is that these sublime objects, by 
elevating us toward Heaven, elevate thither the soul of Man by 
the sentiment of infinity ; and disjoining us from things terres- 
trial, waft us to the enjoyment of beauties of much longer du- 
ration. 

The works of Natui'e fi-equently present to us several kinds 
of infinity at once ; thus, for example, a great tree, the trunk of 
which is cavernous and covered with moss, conveys to us the 
sentiment of infinity as to time, as well as that of infinity in point 
of elevation. It exhibits a monument of ages when we did nojt 
exist. If to this is added infinity of extension, as when we per- 
ceive through it's solemn branches objects prodigiously remote, 
our veneration increases. Go on, and add to all these, the dif- 
ferent ridges of it's mass, in contrast with the profundity of tho 
valleys, and with the level of the plains ; it's venerable half- 
lights, which oppose themselves, and play with the azure of the 
Heavens ; and the sentiment of our own wretchedness, which it 
relieves, by the ideas of the protection which it affords in the 
thickness of it's trunk immoveable as the rock, and in it's au- 
gust summit agitated by the winds, the majestic murmurs of 
which seem to sympathize with our distress : a tree, with al! 



228 STUDIES OF N ATURE. 

these harmonies, seems to inspire an inexpressible religious awe, 
Pliny says, in conformity to this idea, that the trees were the 
first temples of the Gods. 

The sublime impression which they produce becomes still 
more profound, when they recal to us some sentiment of virtue, 
such as the recollection of the great men who planted them, or 
of those whose tombs they shade. Of this kind were the oaks 
of lulus at Troy. It is from an effect of this sentiment that the 
mountains of Greece and Italy appear to us more respectable 
than those of the rest of Europe, though they are of no higher 
antiquity on the Globe, because their monuments, in ruins as 
they are, call to our remembrance the virtues of the persons who 
inhabited them. But this subject belongs not to the present 
article. 

In general, the different sensations of infinity increase by the 
contrasts of the physical objects which produce them. Our 
Painters are not sufficiently attentive to the choice of those 
which they introduce into the fore-ground of their pictures. 
They would give a much more powerful effect to their back- 
ground scenery, if they opposed to it the frontispiece, not only 
in colours and forms as they sometimes do, but in nature. Thus, 
for example, if the Artist wished to communicate an affecting 
interest to a cheerful and smiling landscape, he would do well 
to present it through a magnificent triumphal arch, crumbling 
into ruin by length of time. On the contrary, a city filled with 
Tuscan and Egyptian monuments would have a still greater air 
of antiquit)', when viewed from under a bower of verdure and 
flowers. We ought to imitate Nature, who never produces the 
most lovely plants in all their beauty, such as mosses, violets, 
and loses, but at the foot of rustic rocks. 

Not bu.t that consonances likewise produce a very powerful 
effect, especially when they seem to unite objects which arc 
distinct from each other. It is thus, for instance, that the cupo- 
la of the College of the Four Nations presents a magnificent 
point of view, when seen from the middle of the court of the 
Louvre, through the arcade of that palace which is opposite, 
for then you view it complete, with a portion of the Heaven 
under the arch, as if it were a part of the Louvre. But in this 
XRYV consonance, which gives such an extent to our vision, there 



STUDY XII. 229 

is likewise a contrast in the concave form of the arcade, with 
the convex form of the cupola. 

The great art of moving is to oppose sensible objects to intel- 
lectual. The soul in that case takes a daring flight. It soars 
from the visible to the invisible, and enjoys, if I may be allowed 
the expression, in it's own way, by extending itself into the un- 
bounded fields of sentiment and of intelligence. Among certain 
Tartar tribes, when a great man dies, his groom, after the inter- 
ment, leads out the horse which his master was accustomed to 
ride, places the clothes which he wore on the horse's back, and 
walks him, in profound silence, before the assembly, who by 
that spectacle are melted into tears. 

When the suppressed circumstances multiply and unite them- 
selves to some virtuous affection, the emotions of the soul are 
greatly heightened. Thus when, in the iEneid, lulus is promis- 
ing to make presents to Nisiis and Eiiryalus^ who are going in 
quest of his father to Palenteum^ he says to Nisus : 

Bina dabo argcnto perfecta atque aspera sig-nis 
Procula, divecta genitor quae ccpit Arisba ; 
Et tripodes gemiiios, auri, duo magna talenta, 
Cratera antiquum quern dat Sidonia Dido.* 

^neid. Lib. ix. v. 26J. 

" I will present you with two silver cups of exquisite work- 
" manship, with curious figures in alto-relievo. They became 
*' my father's property at the capture of Arisba. To these I 
" will add a pair of twin tripods ; two talents of massy gold ; 
" and an ancient goblet, a token of affection from Queen Z)zrt'(3." 

He promises to the two youthful friends, united to each other 
in the tenderest bonds, double presents, two cups, two tripods 
to serve as stands for them, after the manner of the ancients, 
two talents of gold to replenish them with wine, but only one 
bowl from which they might drink together. And then, what 
a bowl ! he boasts neither of the materials of which it is com- 

* Two silver cups, emboss'd with nicest art, 
I'll give, of warlike spoils my father's part. 
When fani'd Arisba fell ; two tripods old; 
A double talcnl, too, of purest g-oki ; 
Sidonian Dido's gift shall crown the rest, 
A bowl antique, of jjencrous love the test 



230 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

posed, nor of the workmanship, as in the case of the other pre* 
sents ; he connects it with moral qualities infinitely more in- 
teresting to the heart of friendship. It is antique ; it was not 
the prize of violence but the gift of love. lulus no doubt re- 
ceived it as a mark of affection from Dido^ when she considered 
herself to be the wife of JEneas. 

In all the scenes of passion where the intention is to produce 
strong emotions, the more that the principal object is circum- 
scribed, the more extended is the intellectual sentiment result- 
ing from it. Several reasons might be assigned for this, the 
most important of which is, that the accessory contrasts, as 
those of littleness and greatness, of weakness and strength, ol 
finite and infinite, concur in heightening the contrast of the sub- 
ject. When Pouss'in conceived the idea of a picture of the 
universal deluge, he confined it to the representation of a single 
family. There you see an old man on horseback, on the point 
of drowning ; and in a boat, a man, perhaps his son, presents to 
his wife, who has made shift to scramble up a rock, a little 
child dressed in a red petticoat, who, on it's part, is making 
every effort with it's little feet to get upon the rock. The back- 
ground of the landscape is frightful from it's black melancholy. 
The herbage and the trees are soaked in water, the Earth itself 
is penetrated by it, which is rendered visible by that long ser- 
pent in eager haste to quit it's hole. The torrents are gushing 
down on every side ; the Sun appears in the Heavens like an 
eye thrust out of it's socket : but the most powerful interest in 
the piece bears upon the feeblest object : a father and a mother, 
ready themselves to perish, are VvhoUy engrossed in the preser- 
vation of their infant. Every other feeling is extinguished on 
the Earth, but maternal tenderness is still alive. The human 
race is destroyed because of it's crimes, and innocence is going 
to be involved in the punishment; These unrestrained torrents 
that deluged Earth, that lurid Atmosphere, tliat extinguished 
Sun, those desolated solitudes, that fugitive family, all the ef- 
fects of this universal ruin of the World, are wholly concentra- 
ted in an infant. There is no one, however, who on vieAving the 
small group of personages Avhich surround it, would not exclaim : 
" There's the Universal Deluge !" Such is the nature of the hu- 
man soul ; so far from being material it lays hold only of cor- 



STUDY Xir. 231 

vcspondencics. The less your display to it physical objects the 
more you awaken in it intellectual feelings. 

Of the sense of Hearing. 

Plato calls hearing and seeing the senses of the soul. I sup- 
pose he qualifies them particularly by this name, because vision 
is affected by light, which is not properly speaking a substance; 
and hearing by the modulations of the air, which are not of them- 
selves bodies. Besides, these two senses convey to us only the 
sentiment of correspondencies and harmonies, without involving 
us in matter as smelling does, which is affected only by the ema- 
nations from bodies ; tasting by their fluidity ; and touching by 
their solidity, by their softness, by their heat, and by their other 
physical qualities. Though hearing and seeing be the direct 
senses of the soul, we ought not however thence to conclude, 
that a man born deaf and blind must be ah ideot, as some have 
pretended. The soul sees and hears by all the senses. This 
has been demonstrated in the case of the blind Princes of Persia, 
whose fingers, according to Chardin's report, are so astonishingly 
intelligent, that they can trace and calculate all the figures of 
Geometry on tables. Such are likewise the deaf and the dumb, 
whom the Abbe de VEpee is teaching to converse together. 

I have no occasion to be diffuse on the subject of the intellec- 
tual relations of hearing. This sense is the immediate organ of 
intelligence; it is that which is adapted to the reception of speech, 
a faculty peculiar to man, and which, by it's infinite modulations, 
is the expression of all the correspondencies of Nature, and of 
all the feelings of the human heart. But there is another lan- 
guage which seems to appertain still more particularly to this 
first principle of ourselves, to which we have given the name of 
sentiment : I mean music. 

I shall not dwell on the incomprehensible power which it pos- 
sesses of rousing and quieting the passions, in a manner inde- 
pendent of reason, and of kindling sublime afl'ections disenga- 
ged from intellectual perception : it's effects are sufficiently 
known. I shall only observe, that it is so natural to INIan, that 
the first prayers addressed to the Deity, and the original Laws 
among all Nations, were set to music. Man loses a taste fo*- 
it only in polished society, the very languages of which at length 
lose their accentuation. The fact is, that a multitude of social 



-2Z2 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

relations destroy in a state of refinemv nt the correspondencies 
of Nature. In that state we reason much but scarcely feel any 
longer. 

The Author of Nature has deemed the harmony of sounds 
to be so necessary to Man, that there is not a situation upon 
the Earth but what has it's singing bird. The linnet of the 
Canaries usually frequents, in thos^^ islands, the flinty gutters of 
the mountains. The goldfinch delights in sandy downs, the lark 
in the meadows, the nightingale in woods by the side of a brook, 
the bullfinch, whose note is so sweet, in the white thorn : the 
thrush, the jellow-hammer, the greenfinch, and all other singing 
birds, have their favourite post. It is very remarkable that all 
over the Globe they discover an instinct which attracts them to 
the habitation of Man. If there be but a single hut in a forest, 
all the song-birds of the vicinity come and settle around it. Nay, 
none are to be found except in places which are inhabited. I 
have travelled more than six hundred leagues through the fo- 
rests of Russia, but never met with small birds, except in the 
neighbourhood of villages. On making the tour of the fortified 
places of Russian Finland, with the General Officers of the 
Corps of Engineers in which I served, we travelled sometimes 
at the rate of twenty leagues a day, without seeing on the road 
either village or bird. But when we perceived the sparrows 
fluttering about we concluded we must be drawing near some 
inhabited place. In this indication we were never once deceiv- 
ed. I relate it with the more satisfaction that it may some- 
times be of service to persons who have lobt their way in the 
woods. 

Carcillaso de la Vega informs us that his father having been 
detached from Peru, with a company of Spaniards, to make 
discoveries beyond the Cordeiierh, was in danger of perishing 
with hunger in the midst of th-rir uninhabited valleys and quag- 
mires. He never could have got out had he not perceived in 
the air a flight of paroquets, which suggested a hope that there 
might be some place of habitation at no great distance. He 
directed his march to that point of the compass which the pa- 
roquets had pursued, and arrived after incredible fatigue at a 
colony of Indians, who cultivated fields of maize. 

It is to be observed, th:U Nat i re has not given a musical 
voice to any one sea or river bird, because it would have been 



STUDY XII. 23S 

iost in the noise of the waters, and because the human ear could 
not have enjoyed it at the distance which they are destined 
to live from the land. If there are swans which sing, as has 
been alleged by some, their song must consist but of very few 
modulations, with some resemblance to the uncouth sounds ut- 
tered by the duck and the goose. That of the wild swan which 
came lately and setded at Chantilly has only four or five notes. 
Aquatic birds have shrill and piercing cries, by means of which 
they can make themselves heard in the regions of wind and 
tempests where they inhabit, and are in perfect correspondence 
with their noisy situations, and with their melancholy solitudes.* 
The melodies of song-birds have similar relations to the sites 
which they occupy, and even to the distances at which they 
live from our habitations. The lark, who nestles among our 
com, and delights in soaring perpendicularly till we lose sight of 
him, makes his voice to be heard in the air after he is no longer 
perceptible to the eye. The. swallnw, who graxes the walls of 
our houses as he flies, an4 reposes on our chimneys, has a small 
gentle chirping voice which does not stun the ear, as that of the 
songsters of the grove would do ; bat the solitary nightingale 
makes himself heard at a distance of more than half a league. 
He mistrusts the vicinity of man ; and nevertheless always 
places himself within sight of his habitation, and within the 
reach of his ear. He chooses, for this effect, places which are 
the best conductors of sound, in order that their echoing may 
give more action to his voice. Having stationed himself in his 
orchestra, he warbles an unknown drama, which has it's exoi*- 
dium, it's exposition, it's recitative, it's catastrophe, intermin- 
gled sometimes with the most extravagant bursts of joy, some- 

* " The notes of all sea-fowl," says Mr. Pennant^ " are most harsh and Ln- 
" harmonious. I have often rested under rocks like tliose " of Flamboi ough- 
" Head," attentive to the various sounds over my head ; which, mixed with 
^' the deep roar of the waves slowly swelling-, and retiring; from the vast ca- 
*' vcrns beneath, have produced a fine efi'cct. Tlie sharp voice of the gulls, 
" the frequent chatter of the guillemots, the loud notes of the auks, the 
•' scream of the herons, together with the deep periodical croak of the cor- 
" morants, which seems as a bass to the rest, have often furnished me with 
" a concert, which, joined to the wild scenery surrounding me, aflorded in an 
" high degree that species of pleasure which resuhs from the novelty and the 
" gloomy majesty of the entertainment." Introduction to the Arctic Zooiegy- 
page XV. — B. S. B. 

Vol. IL G g 



234 STUDIES OF NATURE, 

times with bitter and plaintive notes of recollection, which he 
expresses by long and deep sighs. He raises his song at the 
commencement of that season which renews the face of Nature, 
and seems to present Man Avith a representation of the rest- 
less career which lies before him. 

Every bird has a voice adapted to the times and stations of 
it's destination, and relative to the wants of Man. The loud 
clarion of the cock calls him up to labour at the dawn of day. 
The brisk and lively song of the lark, in the meadow, invites 
the swains and shepherdesses to the dance ; the voracious thrush, 
■which appears only in Autumn, summons the rustic vine-dresser 
to the vintage. Man alone, on his part, is attentive to the ac- 
cents of the feathered race. Never will the deer, who shedsf 
tears copiously over his own misfortunes, sigh over those of the 
complaining Philomel. Never did the laborious ox when led to 
the slaughter after all his painful services, turn his head toward 
her, and say : " Solitary bird, behold in what manner Man re- 
*^' wards his servants !" 

Nature has refused these distractions, and these consonances 
of fortune over volatile beings, in order that our soul, suscepti- 
ble as it is of every woe, finding every where occasions of ex- 
tending that susceptibility, might eveiy where be enabled to al- 
leviate the pressure. She has rendered insensible bodies them- 
selves capable of these communications. She presents to us fre- 
quently in the midst of scenes which pain the eye, other scenes 
which delight the ear, and soothe the mind with interesting re- 
collections. It is thus that from the bosom of forests she trans- 
ports us to the brink of the waters, by the rustling of the aspins 
and of the poplars. At other times she conveys to us, when we 
are by the side of the brook, the noise of the Sea, and the ma-, 
nceuvres of navigation, in the murmuring of reeds shaken by the 
wind. When she can no longer seduce our reason by foreign 
imagery, she lulls it to rest by the charm of sentiment : she calls 
forth from the bosom of the forests, of the meadows, and of the 
valleys, sounds ineffable, which excite in us pleasing reveries^ 
nnd plunge us into profound sleep. 

Of the Sense of Touching. 
I shall make but a few reflections on the sense of touching. It 
is the most obtuse of all our senses, and ncverthclet^s it is in 



STUDY XII. 335 

some sort the seal of our intelligence. To no purpose is an ob- 
ject exposed to the examination of the eye, in every possible 
position } we cannot be persuaded that we know it, unless we 
are permitted to put it to the touch. This instinct proceeds per- 
haps from our weakness, which seeks in those approximations 
points of protection. Whatever may be in this, the sense in 
question, blunt as it is, may be made the channel of communi- 
cating intelligence, as is evident from the example adduced by 
Chardin^ of the blind men of Persia, who traced geometrical fi- 
gures with their fingers, and formed a verj' accurate judgment 
of the goodness of a watch by handling the parts of the move- 
ment. 

Wise Nature has placed the principal organs of this sense, 
which is diffused over the whole surface of our skin, in our 
hands and feet, which are the members the best adapted to 
judge of the quality of bodies. But in order that they might 
not be exposed to the loss of their sensibility by frequent 
shocks, she has bestowed on them a great degree of pliancy, by 
dividing them into several fingers and toes, and these again into 
several joints ; farther, she has furnished them, on the points 
of contact, with elastic half-pincers, which present at once resis- 
tance in their callous and prominent parts, and an exquisite sen- 
silnlity in the retreating. 

It is matter of astonishment to me, however, that Nature 
should have diffused the sense of touching over the whole sur- 
face of the human body, which becomes thence exposed to va- 
riety of suffering, while no considerable benefit seems to re- 
sult from it. Man is the only animal laid under the necessit) 
of clothing himself. There are indeed some insects which 
make cases for tliemselves, such as the moth ; but they aVe pro- 
duced in places where their clothing is, if I may say so, ready 
made. This necessity, which is become one of the most inex- 
haustible sources of human vanity, is in my opinion one of the 
most humiliating proofs of our v/retchedness. Man is the only 
being who is ashamed of appearing naked. This is a feeling 
f)f which I do not discern the reason in Nature, nor the simili- 
tude in the instinct of other animals. Besides, independently 
of all sense of shame, he is constrained by powcrfid necessity 
to clothe himself, in evcrv -varietv of climate. 



23b STUDIES OF NATURE. 

Certain Philosophers, wrapped up in good warm cloaks, and 
who never stir beyond the precincts of our gi-eat cities, have 
figured to themselves a natural Man on the Earth, like a sta- 
tue of bronze in the middle of one of our squares. But to say 
nothing of the innumerable inconveniencies which must in such 
a state oppress his miserable existence from without, as the 
cold, the heat, the wind, the rain, I shall insist only on one in- 
convenience, which is but slightly felt in our commodious apart- 
ments, though it would be absolutely insupportable to a naked 
man, in the most genial of temperatures, I mean the flies. I 
shall quote, to this purpose, the testimony of a man whose skm 
ought to have been proof against this attack : it is that of the 
free-bootcr Raveneau du Lussa7i, who in the year 1688, crossed 
the isthmus of Panama, on his return from the South Seas. 
Hear what he says, speaking of the Indians of Cape de Gracias 
a Dios : " When they are overtaken with an inclination to go 
*' to sleep, they dig a hole in the sand, in which they lay them- 
" selves along, and then cover themselves all over with the sand 
" which they had dug out ; this they do to shelter themselves 
'' from the attack of the musquitos, with which the air is so fre- 
••' quently loaded. They are a kind of little flies that are rather 
" felt than seen, and are armed with a sting so keen, and so 
" venomous, that when they fix on any one, they seem to dart a 
•■' shaft of fire into the blood. 

" The poor wretches are so grievously tonhented with those 
" formidable insects, when it does not blow, that they become 
" like lepers ; and I can affirm it as a serious truth, for I know 
"' it from my own experience, that it is no slight evil to be at- 
" tacked by them ; for besides their preventing all rest in the 
*•' night-time, when we were obliged to trudge along with our 
" backs naked for want of shirts, the unceasing persecution of 
'' those merciless little animals drove us almost to madness and 
*' despair."* 

It is, I am disposed to believe, on account of the troublcsome- 
ness of the flies, which are very common, and very necessary, 
in the marshy and humid places of hot countries, that Nature 
has placed but few quadrupeds with hair on their shores, but 
quadrupeds with scales, as the tatou, the armadillo, the tortoise, 

* Jom-nal of a Voyage te the South Sea in 1688 



STUDY XIL 237 

the lizard, the crocodile, the cayman, the land-crab, bemard- 
the-hermit, and other scaly reptiles, such as serpents, upon which 
the flies have not the means of fastening. It is perhaps for this 
reason likewise that hogs and wild-boars, which take pleasure 
in frequenting such places, are furnished with hair, long, stiff, 
and bristly, which keep volatile insects at a distance. 

Once more, Nature has not employed, in this respect, any 
one precaution in behalf of Man. Of a truth, on contemplat- 
ing the beauty of his forms, and his complete nakedness, it is 
impossible for me not to admit the ancient tradition of our ori- 
gin. Nature, in placing him on the Earth, said to him : " Go, 
" degraded creature, animal destitute of clothing, intelligence 
" without light ; go and provide for thy own wants ; it shall 
" not be in thy power to enlighten thy blinded reason, but by 
" directing it continually toward Heaven, nor to sustain thy 
" miserable life, without the assistance of beings like thyself." 
And thus out of the misery of Man sprung up the two com- 
mandments of the Law. 

or THE SENTIMENTS OF THE SOUJ. 

Andjirst^ of Mental Affections. 

I shall speak of mental affections, chiefly in the view of dis- 
tinguishing them from the sentiments of the soul : they differ 
essentially from each other. For example, the pleasure which 
comedy bestows is widely different from that of which tragedy 
is the source. The emotion which excites laughter is an affec- 
tion of the mind, or of human reason ; that which dissolves us 
into tears is a sentiment of the soul. Not that I would make 
of the mind and of the soul two powers of a different nature ; 
but it seems to me, as has been already said, that the one is to 
the other what sight is to the body ; mind is a faculty, and soul 
is the principle of it : the soul is, if I may venture thus to ex- 
press myself, the body of our intelligence. I consider the mind 
then as an intellectual eye, to which may be referred the other 
faculties of the understanding, as the vnag'ination^ which appre- 
hends things future ; memorij^ which contemplates things xhzx. 
arc past ; uvaX judgment^ which discerns their correspondencies. 
The impression made upon us by ihese different acts of vision, 
sometimes excites in us a sentiment which is denominated ph'?- 



23& STUDIES OF NATURE. 

(fence; and in that case, this last perception belongs immediate 
ly to the soul ; of this we are made sensible by the delicious 
emotion which it suddenly excites in us ; but, raised to that, it 
is no longer in the province of mind ; because when we begin to 
feel we cease to reason ; it is no longer vision, it is enjoyment- 

As our education and our manners direct us toward our per- 
sonal interest, hence it comes to pass, that the mind employs itself 
only about social conformities, and that reason, after all, is no- 
thing more than the interest of our passions ; but the soul, left to 
itself, is incessantly pursuing the conformities of Nature, and our 
sentiment is always the interest of Mankind. 

Thus, I repeat it, mind is the perception of the Laws of So- 
ciety, and sentiment is the perception of the Laws of Nature. 
Those who display to us the conformities of Society, such as 
comic Writers, Satirists, Epigrammatists, and even the greatest 
part of Moralists, are men of wit : such were the Abbe de Choi- 
sify LaBruyere^ St. Evremont], and the like. Those who discover 
to us the conformities of Nature, such as tragic and other Poets 
of sensibility, the Inventors of arts, great Philosophers, are men 
of genius : such were Shakespeare^ Coi'neille^ Racine^ Newton^ 
Marcus Aurelius^ Montesquieu, La Fontaine, Fenelon, J. J. 
Rousseau, The first class belong to one age, to one season, to 
one nation, to one junto ; the others to posterity and to Mankind. 

We shall be still more sensible of the difference which sub- 
sists between mind and soul, by tracing their affections to oppo- 
site progresses. As often, for example, as the perceptions of 
the mind are carried up to evidence, they are exalted into a 
source of exquisite pleasure, independently of every particular 
relation of interest ; because, as has been said, they awaken a 
feeling within us. But when we go about to analyze our feel- 
ings, and refer them to the examination of the mind, or reason- 
ing power, the sublime emotions which they excited vanish 
away ; for in this case we do not fail to refer them to some ac- 
commodation of society, of fortune, of system, or of some other 
personal interest, whereof our reason is composed. Thus, in 
the first case, we change our copper into gold ; and in the second 
our gold into copper. 

Again, nothing can be less adapted, at the long-run, to the 
study of Nature, than the reasoning powers of Man ; for though 
they may catch here and there some natural confonnities, thev 



STUDY XII. 239 

never pursue the chain to any great length : besides, there is a 
much greater number which the mind does not perceive, because 
it always brings back every thing to itself, and to the little so- 
cial or scientific order within which it is circumscribed. Thus, 
for example, if it takes a glimpse of the celestial spheres, it will 
refer the formation of them to the labour of a glass-house ; and 
if it admits the existence of a creating Power, it will represent 
him as a mechanic out of employment, amusing himself with 
making globes, merely to have the pleasure of seeing them turn 
round. It will conclude, from it's own disorder, that there is 
no such thing as order in nature ; from it's own immorality, 
that there is no morality. As it refers every thing to it's own 
reason, and seeing no reason for existence when it shall be no 
longer on the Earth, it thence concludes that in fact it shall not 
in that case exist. To be consistent, it ought equally to con- 
clude on the same principle that it does not exist now ; for it 
certainly can discover neither in itself nor in any thing around 
an actual reason for it's existence. 

We are convinced of our existence by a pov\er greatly super 
rior to our mind, which is sentiment, or intellectual feeling. We 
are going to carry this natural instinct along with us into oui 
researches respecting the existence of the Deity, and the im- 
mortality of the soul ; subjects on which our versatile reason ha? 
so frequently engaged, sometimes on this, sometimes on the 
other side of the question, Though our insufficiency be too 
great to admit of launching far into this unbounded career, wr 
presume to hope that our perceptions, nay our very mistakes. 
may encourage men of genius to enter upon it. These sublimc 
and eternal truths seem to us so deeply imprinted on the humrai 
heart, as to appear themselves the principles of our intellectual 
feeling, and to manifest themselves in our most ordinar% affcc 
tions, as in the wildest excesses of our passions. 

OF THE SENTIMENTS OF INNOCENCE. 

The sentiment of innocence exalts us towra-d tlic Di.i ; v, and 
prompts us to virtuous deeds. The Greeks and Romans em- 
ployed little children to sing in their religious festivals, and to 
present their offerings at the altar, in die view of rendering the 
Gods propitious to their Country by die spectacle of infant in- 
nocence. The sight of infancy calls men back to the sentiment* 



240 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

of Nature. When Cato of Utica had formed the resolution to 
put himself to death, his friends and servants concealed his 
sword ; and upon his demanding it with expressions of violent 
indignation, they delivered it to him by the hands of a child : 
but the corruption of the age in which he lived had stifled in his 
heart the sentiment which innocence ought to have excited. 

Jesus Christ recommends to us to become as little children; 
We call them innocents, non nocentes^ because they have never 
injured any one. But notwithstanding the claims of their ten- 
der age, and the authority of the Christian Religion, To what 
barbarous education are they they not abandoned ? 

Of Pity. 

The sentiment of innocence is the native source of compas- 
sion ; hence we are more deeply affected by the sufferings of a 
child than by those of an old man. The reason is not, as cer- 
tain Philosophers pretend, because the resources and hopes of 
the child are inferior ; for they are in truth greater than those of 
the old man, who is frequently infirm and hastening to dissolu- 
tion, whereas the child is entering into life ; but the child has 
nev«r offended ; he is innocent. This sentiment extends even 
to animals, which in many cases excite our sympathy more than 
rational creatures do, from this very consideration, that they are 
harmless. This accounts for the idea of tiie good La Fontaine^ 
in describing the Deluge, in his fable of Baucis and Philemon. 

Tout cUsparut sur I'heure. 

Les vieillards deploroient. ces severes ilestins : 
Les animaux perir ! Cai- encor les humains, 
Tous avoient dii tombcr sous les celestes armes, 
Baucis en repundit en secret quelques larmcs. 

All disappear'd in that tremendous hour. 

Age felt the weight of Heaven's insulted power : 

On guilty Man the stroke with justice fell, 

But harmless bi-utcs ! — the fierceness \vho can tell 

Of wrath divine ? — At thought of this, some tears 

Stole down the cheeks of Baucis 

Thus the sentiment of innocence develops, in the heart of 
Man, a divine character, which is that of generosity. It bears 
•not on the calamity abstractedly considered, but on a moral 



STUDY XII. 241 

quality, which it discerns in the unfortunate being who is the 
object of it. It derives increase from the view of innocence, 
and sometimes still more from that of repentance. Man alone 
of all animals is susceptible of it ; and this not by a secret re- 
Uospect to himself, as some enemies of the Human Race have 
pretended ; for were that the case, on stating a comparison be- 
tween a child and an old man, both of them unfortunate, we 
ought to be more affected by the misery of the old man, con- 
sidering that we are removing from the wretchedness of child- 
hood, and drawing nearer to that of old age : the contrary hovv^- 
ever takes place, in virtue of the moral sentiment which I have 
alleged. 

When an old man is virtuous, the moral sentiment of his dis- 
tress is excited in us with redoubled force ; this is an evident 
proof that pity in Man is by no means an animal affection. 
The sight of a Belisarius is accordingly a most affecting object. 
If yofu heighten it by the introduction of a child holding out 
his little hand to receive the alms bestowed on that illustrious 
blind beggar, the impression of pity is still more powerful. But 
let me put a sentimental case. Suppose you had fallen in with 
Belisarius soliciting charity, on the one hand, and on the other, 
an orphan child blind and wretched, and that }-ou had but one 
crown, without the possibility of dividing it. To wliether of the 
two would you have given it ? 

If on reflection you fmd that the eminent ser\-ices rendered 
by Belisarius to his ungrateful Country, have inclined the ba- 
lance of sentiment too decidedly in his favour, suppose the child 
overwhelmed with the \/oes of Belisarius^ and at the same time 
possessing some of his virtues, such as having his eyes put out 
by his parents, and nevertheless continuing to beg alms for their 
relief ;* there would in my opinion be no room for hesitation, 
provided a man felt only : for if you reason, the case is entirelv 
altered ; the talents, the victories, the renown of the Grecian 
(General, would presentl}^ absorb the calamities of an obscure 

* The rector of a country village, in the vli inity of Paris, not far from 
Dravet, underwent in his infancy a piece of inhumanity not less barbai'ous, 
from the hands of his parents. He suffered castration from his own father, 
who was by profession a surg^eon : he nevertheless supported that unnatural 
parent in his old acre I believe both fr.thcr and son arc still in life. 

Vol. II. H h 



M2 STUDIES OF NATURE, 

child. Reason will recall you to the political interest, to the 1 
human. 

The sentiment of innocence is a ray of the Divinity. It in- 
vests the unfortunate person with a celestial radiance which 
falls on the human heart, and recoils, kindling it into generosity, 
that other flame of divine original. It alone renders us sensible 
to the distress of virtue, by representing it to us as incapable of 
doing harm ; for otherwise we might be induced to consider it 
as sufficient for itself. In this case it would excite rather admi- 
ration than pity. 

Of the Love of Country. 

This sentiment is, still farther, the source of love of Coun- 
try, because it brings to our recollection the gentle and pure af- 
fections of our earlier years. It increases with extention, and 
expands with the progress of time, as a sentiment of a celestial 
and immortal nature. They have in Switzerland an ancient 
musical air, and extremely simple, called the ra7is des vaches. 
The music of this air produces an eifect so powerful, that it was 
found necessary to prohibit the playing of it, in Holland and in 
France, before the Swiss soldiers, because it set them all a-de- 
serting one after another. I imagine that the runs des vaches 
must imitate the lowing and bleating of the cattle, the repercus- 
ision of the echos, and other associations, which made the blood 
boil in the veins of those poor soldiers, by recalling to their me- 
mory, the valleys, the lakes, the mountains of their Country,* 
and at the same time the companions of tlieir early life, their 
first loves, the recollection of their indulgent grand-fathers, and 
the like. 

* I have been told that Poutavsri, llic Indian of Otaheite, who was some years 
ago broug-ht to Paris, on seeing', in the Royal Garden, the paper-mulbem- 
trec, the bark of which is in that island manufactured uito cloth, the tear 
stalled to his eye, and clasping' it in liis arms, he exclaimed : Ah ! tree of 
my counti'y .' I could wish it were put to the trial, whether on presenting to 
a foreign bird, say a paroquet, a fruit of it's country, which it had not seen 
for a considerable time, it would express some extraordinary emotion. 
Though physical sensations attach us so strongly to Country, moral senti- 
ments alone can give them a vciiement intensity. Time, which blunts the 
former, gives only a keener edge to the latter. For this reason it is that 
veneration for a monument is always in proportion to it's antiquity, or to 
"it's distance ; this explains that expression of Tacifus : Mnjor e hnp-ivnvp. re 
vercntia ■ distance increases rcvevencc. 



STUDY XII. 243 

The love of Country seems to strengthen in proportion as it 
is innocent and unhappy. For this reason Savages are fonder 
of their Country than polished Nations are ; and those who in- 
habit regions rough and wild, such as mountaineers, than those 
who live in fertile countries and fine climates. Never could the 
Court of Russia prevail upon a single Samoiede to leave the 
shores of the Frozen Ocean, and settle at Petersburg. Some 
Greenlanders were brought in the course of the last century to 
the Court of Copenhagen, where they were entertained with * 
profusion of kindness, but soon fretted themselves to death. 
Several of them were drowned in attempting to return to their 
country in an open boat* They beheld all the magnificence of the 
Court of Denmark with extreme indifference ; but there was 
one in particular, whom they observed to weep every time he saw 
a woman with a child in her arms ; hence they conjectured that 
this unfortunate man was a father. The gentleness of domestic 
education, undoubtedly, thus powerfully attaches those poor 
people to the place of their birth. It was this which inspired 
the Greeks and Romans with so much courage in the defence of 
their Country. The sentiment of innocence strengthens the 
love of it, because it brings back all the affections of early life, 
pure, sacred, and incorruptible. Virgil was well acquainted 
with the effect of this sentiment, when he puts into the mouth 
of Nisus^ who was dissuading Eiiryalus from undertaking a 
nocturnal expedition fraught with danger, those affecting words r 

Tc sHpcresse vclim : tua vita dignior xtas 

iTthou survive me, I shall die content : 
Tliy tender age deserves the longer life 

But among Nations with whom infancy is rendered misera 
i)le, and is corrupted by irksome, feiocious, and unnatural edu- 
cation, there is no more love of Country than there is of inno- 
cence. This is one of the causes which sends so many Euro- 
jicans a-rambling over the World, and which accounts for our 
having so few modern monuments in Europe, because the next 
generation never fails to destroy the monuments of that which 
preceded it. This is the reason that our books, our fashions, 
our customs, our ceiemonies, and our languages, become obso- 
lete so soon, and are entirely different this age from what they 



244 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

were in the last ; Avhereas all these particulars continue the same 
among the sedentary Nations of Asia, for a long series of ages 
together ; because children brought up in Asia, in the habita- 
tion of their parents, and treated with much gentleness, remain 
attached to the establishments of their ancestors out of gratitude 
to their memory, and to the places of their birth from the re- 
collection of their happiness and innocence. 

OF THE SENTIMENT OF ADMIRATION. 

The sentiment of admiration transports us immediately into 
the bosom of Deity. If it is excited in us by an object which 
inspires delight, we convey ourselves thither as to the source of 
joy ; if terror is roused, Ave flee thither for refuge. In either 
case, Admiration exclaims in these words, Ah^ my God! This 
is, we are told, the effect of education merely, in the course of 
which frequent mention is made of the name of God; but men- 
tion is still more frequently made of our father, of the king, of 
a protector, of a celebrated literary character. How comes it 
then that when we feel ourselves standing in need of support, in 
such unexpected concussions we never exclaim, Ah^ my King I 
or, if Science were concerned. Ah, Newton ! 

It is certain that if the name of God be frequently mentioned 
to us in the progress of our education, the idea of it is quickly 
effaced in the usual train of the affairs of this World ; why then 
have we recourse to it in extraordinary emergencies r This sen- 
timent of Nature is common to all Nations, many of whom give 
no theological instruction to their children. I have remarked it 
in the Negroes of the coast of Guinea, of Madagascar, of Caf- 
rerie, and Mosambique, among the Tartars, and the Indians of 
the Malabar coast ; in a word among men of every quarter of 
the World. I never saw a single one v,'ho, under the extraor- 
dinary emotions of surprize or of admiration, did not make, in 
his own language, the same exclamation which we do, and who 
did not lift up his liands and his eyes to Heaven. 

Of the 3larvellotis. 

The sentiment of admiration is the source of the instinct 
which men have in every age discovered for the marvellous. 
We are hunting after it continually, and every where, and we 



STUDY XII. 24a 

clifFuse it principally over the commencement and the close of 
human life : hence it is that the cradles and the tombs of so great 
a part of Mankind have been enveloped in fiction. It is the 
perennial source of our curiosity ; it discloses itself from early 
infancy, and is long the companion of innocence. Whence could 
children derive the taste for the marvellous ? They must have 
Fairy-tales ; and men must have epic poems and operas. It 
is the marvellous which constitutes one of the grand charms of 
the antique statues of Greece and Rome, representing heroes or 
gods, and which contributes more than is generally imagined to 
our delight, in the perusal of the ancient History of those Coun- 
tries. It is one of the natural reasons which may be produced 
to the President Renault^ who expresses his astonishment diat 
we should be more enamoured of ancient History than of 
modern, especially than that of our own country. The truth is, 
independently of the patriotic sentiments which serve at least 
as a pretext to the intrigues of the great men of Greece and 
Rome, and which were so entirely unknown to ours, that they 
frequently embroiled their country in maintaining the interests 
of a particular house, and sometimes in asserting the honor of 
precedency, or of sitting on a joint-stool ; there is a marvellous 
in the religion of the Ancients, which consoles and elevates hu- 
man nature, whereas that of the Gauls terrifies and debases it. 
The gods of the Greeks and the Romans were patriots, like 
their great men. Mmerva had given them the olive, Neptune 
the horse. Those deities protected the city and the people. 
But those of the ancient Gauls were tyrants, like their Barons ; 
they afforded protection only to the Druids. They must be 
glutted with human sacrifices. In a word, this religion was so 
inhuman, that two successive Roman Emperors, according to 
the testimony of Suetonius and Pliny^ commanded it to be abo- 
lished. I say nothing of the modern interests of our History ; 
but sure I am that the relations of our politicks will never re- 
place in it, to the heart of Man, those of the Divinity. 

I must observe that as admiration is an involuntary move- 
ment of the soul toward Deity, and is of consequence sublime, 
several modern Authors have strained to multiply tliis kind of 
beautv in their productions, by an accumulation of surprising 
incidents ; but Nature employs them sparingly in her's, because 
Man is incapable of frequently undergoing concussions so vio- 



246 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

lent. She discloses to us by little and litde the light of the Suti, 
the expansion of flowers, the formation of fruits. She gradually 
introduces our enjoyments by a long series of harmonies ; she 
treats us as human beings ; that is as machines feeble and easily 
deranged ; she veils Deity from our view that we may be able 
to support his approach. 

/ 
The Pleasure of Mystery. 

This is the reason that mystery possesses so many charms. 
Pictures placed in the full glai-e of light, avenues in straight 
lines, roses fully blown, women in gaudy apparel, are far from 
being the objects which please us most. But shady valleys, 
paths winding about through the forests, flowers scarcely half- 
opened, and timid shepherdesses, excite in us the sweetest and 
the most lasting emotions. The loveliness and respectability of 
objects are increased by their mysteriousness. Sometimes it is 
that of antiquity which renders so many monuments venerable 
in our eyes ; sometimes it is that of distance, which diffuses so 
many charms over objects in the Horizon ; sometimes it is that 
of names. Hence the Sciences which retain the Greek names, 
though they frequently denote only the most ordinary things, 
have a more imposing air of respect than those which have only 
modem names, though these may in many cases be more inge- 
nious and more useful. Hence, for example, the construction 
of ships, and the art of navigation, are more lightly prized by 
our modem literati^ than several other physical sciences of the 
most frivolous nature, but which are dignified by Greek names. 
Admiration, accordingly, is not a relation of the understand- 
ing, or a perception of our reason, but a sentiment of the soul, 
which arises in us from a certain undescribable instinct of Dei- 
ty, at sight of extraordinary objects, and from the very mys- 
teriousness in which they are involved. This is so indubitably 
certain, that admiration is destroyed by the science which en- 
lightens us. If I exhibit to a savage an eolipile darting out a 
stream t)f inflamed spirit of wine, I throw him into an ecstacy 
of admiration ; he feels himself disposed to fall down and wor- 
ship the machine ; he venerates me as the God of Fire, as long 
ar, he comprehends it not ; but no sooner do I explain to him 



STUDY XII. U7 

the aature of the process, than his admiration ceases and he 
looks upon me as a cheat.* 

The Pleasures of Ignorance, 

From an eflFect of these ineffable sentiments, and of those 
universal instincts of Deity, it is, that ignorance is become the 
inexhaustible source of delight to Man. We must take care 
not to confound, as all our Moralists do, ignorance and error. 
Ignorance is the work of Nature, and in many cases a blessing 
to man ; whereas error is frequendy the fruit of our pretended 
human Sciences, and is always an evil. Let our political Wri- 
ters say what they will, while they boast of our wonderful pro- 
gress in knowledge, and oppose to it the barbarism of past ages, 
it was not ignorance which then set all Europe on fire, and 
inundated it with blood, in settling religious disputations, i^ 
race of ignorants would have kept themselves quiet. The mi; 
chief was done by persons who were under the power of erroi , 
who at that time vaunted as much perhaps of their superior il- 
lumination, as we now-a-days do of ours, and into each of 
whom the European spirit of education had instilled this error 
of early infancy. Be the First. 

How many evils does ignorance conceal from us, which wc 
are doomed one day to encounter in the course of human life, 
beyond the possibility of escaping! the inconstancy of friends, 
the revolutions of fortune, calumnies, and the hour of death it- 
self so tremendous to most men. The knowledge of ills like 
these would mar all the comfort of living. How many bles- 
sings does ignorance render sublime ! the illusions of friendship, 
and those of love, the perspectives of hope, and the very trea- 
sures which Science unfolds. The Sciences inspire delight on- 
\y when we enter upon the study of them, at the period when 

• For this reason it is that we admire only tliat which is uncommon. Were 
there to appear over the horizon of Paris one of those parhelia which are sc 
common at Spitshergen, tlie whole inhabitants of the city would be in the 
streets to gaze at it, and wonder. It is nothing- more however than a reflec 
tion of the Sun's disk in the clouds ; and no one stands still to contemplate 
the Sun himself, because the Sun is an object too well known to be admired. 

It is mystery which constitutes one of the cliarni.s of Religion. Those 
who insist upon a geometrical demonstration on this subject, betray a pro- 
found ignorance at once of the Law:^ ff Vatttrc. and of the demands of tht 
Imman heart 



248 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

the mind, in a state of ignorance, plunges into the great career.' 
It is the point of contact between Ught and darkness which pre- 
sents to the eye the most favourable state of vision : this is the 
harmonic point which excites our admiration, when we are be- 
ginning to see clearly ; but it lasts only a single instant. It va- 
nishes together with ignorance. The elements of Geometry 
may have impassioned young minds, but never the aged, unless 
in the case of certain illustrious Mathematicians who were pro- 
ceeding from discovery to discovery. Those sciences only, and 
those passions, which are subjected to doubt and chance, form 
enthusiasts at every age of life, such as chemistry, avarice, 
play, and love. 

For one pleasure which Science bestows, and causes to perish 
in the bestowing, ignorance presents us with a thousand which 
flatter us infinitely more. You demonstrate to me that the Sun 
is a fixed globe, the attraction of which gives to the planets one 
half of their movements. Had they who believed it to be con- 
ducted round the world by Apollo an idea less sublime ? They 
imagined at least that the attention of a God pervaded the 
Earth, together with the rays of the Orb of Day. It is Science 
which has dragged down the chaste Diana from her nocturnal 
car : she has banished the Hamadryads from the antique forests, 
and the gentle Naiads from the fountains. Ignorance had invited 
the Gods to partake of it's joys and it's woes ; to Man's wed- 
ding, and to his grave : Science discerns nothing in either ex- 
cept the elements merely. She has abandoned Man to Man, 
and thrown him upon the Earth as into a desert. Ah! what- 
ever maybe the names which she gives to the difFe\-ent kingdoms 
of Nature, celestial Spirits undoubtedly regulate their combina- 
tions so ingenious, so varied, and so uniform ; and Man, who 
could bestow nothing upon himself, is not the only being in the 
Universe who partakes of intelligence. 

It is not to the illumination of Science that the Deity com- 
municates the most profound sentiment of his attributes, but to 
our ignorance. Night conveys to the mind a much grander idea 
of infinity than all the glare of day. In the day-time I see but 
one Sun ; during the night I discern thousands. Are those vt ry 
stars so variously colo' red r ally Suns .'' ' re those plintts v hich 
revolve around ours actually inhabited as it is I From whence 



STUDY XII. 249 

came the planet Cybele,* discovered hut yesterday hy a German 
of the name of Herschel P It has been running it's race from the 
beginning of the Creation, and was till of late unknown to us. 
Whither go those uncertainly revolving comets, traversing tlie 
regions of unbounded space ? Of what consists that Milky Way 
which divides the firmament of Heaven ? What are those two 
dark clouds placed toward the Antartic Pole, near the cross of 
the South ? Can there be stars which diffuse darkness, con- 
formably to the belief of the Ancients ? Are there places in the 
firmament which the light never reaches f The Sun discovers 
to me only a terrestrial infinity, and the night discloses an in- 
finity altogether celestial. O, mysterious ignorance, draw thy 
hallowed curtains over those enchanting spectacles ! Permit not 
human Science to apply to them it^s chearless compasses. Let 
not virtue be reduced henceforth to look for her reward froni 
the justice and the sensibility of a Globe ! Permit her to think 
that there are, in the Universe, destinies far different from those 
which fill up the measure of woe upon this Earth. 

Science is continually shewing us the boundary of our reason, 
and ignorance is for ever removing it. I take care in ray soli- 
tary rambles not to ask information respecting the name and 
quality of the person who owns the castle which I perceive at a 
distance. The history of the master frequently disfigures that 
of the landscape. It is not so with the History of Nature ; the 
more her Works are studied the more is our admiration excited. 
There is one case only in which the knowledge of the works of 
men is agreeable to us, it is when the monument which we con- 
template has been the abode of goodness. What little spire is 
that which I perceive at Montmorency? It is that of Saint- Gra- 
tian, where Catinat lived the life of a sage, and under which 
his ashes are laid to rest. My soul, circumscribed within the 
precincts of a small village, takes it's flight, and ranges over the 
capacious sphere of the age of Louis XIV. and hastens thence 
to expatiate through a sphere more sublime than that of the 
World, the sphere of Virtue. When I am incapable of pro- 
curing lor myself such perspectives as these, ignorance of places 
answers my purpose much better than the knoAvlcdgc of them 

• The Eiig'lish, in compliinent to their Sovereign Gcor^r III. g-ive it tJie 
name of Georgium Sidiis. 

Vol. II. I i 



250 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

could do. I have no occasion to be informed that such a forest 
belongs to an Abbey or to a Dutchy, in order to feel how ma- 
jestic it is. It's ancient trees, it's profound glades, it's solemn, 
silent solitudes, are sufficient for me. The moment I cease to 
behold Man there, that moment I feel a present Deity. Let 
me give ever so little scope to my sentiment, there is no land- 
scape but what I am able to ennoble. These vast meadows are 
metamorphosed into oceans ; these mist-clad hills are islands 
emerging above the horizon ; that city below is a city of Greece, 
dignified by the residence of Socrates and of Xenophon. Thanks 
to my ignorance I can give the reins to the instinct of my soul. 
I plunge into infinity. I prolong the distance of places by that 
of ages ; and to complete the illusion, I make that enchanted spot 
the habitation of virtue, 

OF THE SENTIMENT OF MELANCHOLY. 

So beneficent is Nature that she converts all her phenomena 
into so many sources of pleasure to Man ; and if we pay atten- 
tion to her procedure, it will be found that her most common 
appearances are the most agreeable. 

I enjoy pleasure, for example, when the rain descends in tor- 
rents, when I see the old mossy walls dripping, and when I hear 
the whistling of the wind, mingled with the clattering of the 
rain. These melancholy sounds, in the night-time, throw me 
into a soft and profound sleep. Neither am I the only person 
susceptible of such affections. Pliny tells us of a Roman Con- 
sul, who when it rained had his couch spread under the thick 
foliage of a tree, in order to hear the drops clatter as they fell, 
and to be lulled to sleep by the murmuring noise. 

I cannot tell to what physical law Philosophers may refer the 
sensations of melanchol3% For my own part I consider them 
as the most voluptuous affections of the soul. Melancholy, says 
Michael 3Iontaigne^ is dainty. It proceeds, if I am not mista- 
ken, from it's gratifying at once the two powers of which we 
are formed, the body and the soul ; the sentiment of our misery, 
and that of our excellence. 

Thus, for example, in bad weather, the sentiment of my hu- 
man misery is tranquillized by seeing it rain, while I am under 
cover ; by hearing the wind blow violently while I am comfort- 
able in bed. I, in t;his case, enjoy a negative felicity. With 



STUDY XII. ^51 

this afe afterwards blended some of those attributes of the Di- 
vinity, the perceptions of which communicate such exquisite 
pleasure to the soul ; such as infinity of extension, from the dis- 
tant murmuring of the wind. This sentiment may be heighten- 
ed from reflection on the Laws of Nature, suggesting to me 
that this rain, which comes for the sake of supposition, from the 
West, has been raised out of the bosom of the Ocean, and per- 
haps from the coasts of America ; that it has been sent to sweep 
our great cities into cleanliness ; to replenish the reser\^oirs of 
our fountains ; to render our rivers navigable ; and whilst the 
clouds which pour it down are advancing eastward, to convey 
fertility even to the vegetables of Tartary, the grains and the 
garbage which it carries down our rivers, are hurling away 
westward, to precipitate themselves into the Sea to feed the 
fishes of the Atlantic Ocean. These excursions of my under- 
standing convey to the soul an extension corresponding to it s 
nature, and appear to me so much the more pleasing, that the 
body, which for it's part loves repose, is more tranquil and more 
completely protected. 

If I am in a sorrowful mood, and not disposed to send my 
soul on an excursion so extensive, I still feel much pleasure in 
giving way to the melancholy which the bad weather inspires. 
It looks as if Nature were then conforming to my situation, like 
a sympathizing friend. She is besides at all times so interest- 
ing, under whatever aspect she exhibits herself, that when it 
rains I think I see a beautiful woman in tears. She seems to be 
more beautiful the more that she wears the appearance of afflic- 
tion. In order to be impressed with these sentiments, which I 
venture to call voluptuous, I must have no project in hand of a 
pleasant walk, of visiting, of hunting, of journeying, which in 
such circumstances would put me into bad humour, from being 
contradicted. Much less ought our two component powers to 
cross, or clash against each other, that is, to let the sentiment 
of infinity bear upon our misery, by thinking that this rain will 
never have an end ; and that of our misery to dwell on the phe- 
nomena of Nature, by complaining that the seasons are quite 
deranged, that order no longer reigns in the elements, and thus 
giving into all the peevish, inconclusive reasonings, adopted by 
a man who is wet to the skin. In order to the enjoyment of 
bad weather, our soul must be travelling abroad, and the body 



252 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

at rest. From the harmony of these two powers of our con- 
stitution it is, that the most terrible revolutions of Nature fre- 
quently intert;sts us more than her gayest scenery. The volca- 
no near Naples attracts more travellers to that city than the de- 
licious gardens which adorn her shores ; the plains of Greece 
and Italy, overspread with ruins, allure more than the richly 
cultivated lawns of England ; the picture of a tempest, more 
connoisseurs than that of a calm ; and the fall of a tower, more 
spectators than it's construction. 

The Pleasure of Rum. 

I was for some time impressed with the belief that Man had 
a certain unaccountable taste for destruction. If the populace 
can lay their hands upon a monument they are sure to destroy 
it. I have seen at Dresden, in the gardens of the Count de 
Bruhl^ beautiful statues of females, which the Prussian sol- 
diery had amused themselves with mutilating by musket-shot 
when they got possession of that city. Most of the common 
people have a turn for slander ; they take pleasure in levelling 
the reputation of all that is exalted. Tut this malevolent iVistinct 
is not the production of Nature. It is infused by the misery 
of the individuals, whom education inspires with an ambition 
which is interdicted by Society, and which throws them into a 
negative ambition. Incapable of raising any thing, they are im- 
pelled to lay every thing low. The taste for ruin in this c?,sc 
is not natural, and is simply the exercise of the power of the 
miserable. Man in a savage state destroys the monumerts 
only of his enemies ; he preserves with the most assiduous care 
those of his own Nation ; and what proves him to be naturally 
much better than Man in a state of Society, he never slanders 
his compatriots. 

Be it as it may, the passive taste for ruin is universal. Our 
voluptuaries embellish their gardens with artificial ruins; sa- 
vages take delight in a melancholy repose by the brink of the 
Sea, especially during a storm, or in the vicinity of a cascade 
s\irrounded by rocks. ]\Xagnificent destruction presents new 
picturesque effects ; and it was the curiosity of seeing this pro- 
duced, combined with crueltj", which impelled Nero to set Rome 
on fire, that he might enjoy the spectacle of a vast conflagration. 
The sentiment of humanity out of the question, those long 



STUDY XII. 253 

streams of flame which, in the middle of the night, lick the 
Heavens, to make use of VirgiPs expression, those torrents of 
red and black smoke, those clouds of sparks of all colours, those 
scarlet reverberations in the streets, on the summit of towers, 
along the surface of the waters, and on the distant mountains, 
give us pleasure even in pictures and in descriptions. 

This kind of affection, which is by no means connected with 
our physical wants, has induced certain Philosophers to allege, 
that our soul, being in a state of agitation, took pleasure in all 
extraordinary emotions. This is the reason, say they, that such 
crowds assemble in the Place de Greve to see the execution of 
criminals. In spectacles of this sort, there is in fact no pic- 
turesque effect whatever, iiut they have advanced their axiom 
as slightly as so many others with whom their Works abound. 
First, our soul takes pleasure in rest as much as in commotion. 
It is a harmony very gentle, and very easily disturbed by violent 
emotions ; and granting it to be in it's own nature a movement, 
I do not see that it ought to take pleasure in those which 
threaten it with destruction. Lucretius lias, in my opinion, 
come much nearer to the truth, when he says that tastes of this 
sort arise from the sentiment of our own security, which is 
heightened by the sight of danger to which we are not exposed. 
It is a pleasant thing, says he, to contemplate a storm from the 
shore. It is undoubtedly from this reference to self, that the 
common people take delight in relating by the fire-side, collect- 
ed in a family way during the Winter evenings, frightful stories 
of ghosts, of men loosing themselves by night in the woods, of 
highway robberies. From the same sentiment likewise it is, 
that the better sort take pleasure in the representation of trage- 
dies, and in reading the description of battles, of shipwrecks, 
and of the crash of empire. The security of the snug trades- 
man is increased by the danger to which the soldier, the mari- 
ner, the courtier is exposed. Pleasure of this kind arises from 
the sentiment of our misery, which is as has been said one of 
the instincts of our melancholy. 

But there is in us besides a sentiment more sublime, which 
derives pleasure from ruin independently of all picturesque cl- 
fect, and of every idea of personal security ; it is that of Deity, 
which ever blends itself with our melancholy affections, and 
which constitutes their principal charm. I shall attempt to un- 



254 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

fold some of the characters of it, following the impressions 
made upon us by ruins of different kinds. The subject is 
both rich and new ; but I possess neither leisure nor ability to 
bestow upon it a profound investigation. I shall however drop 
a few words upon it by the way, in the view of exculpating and 
Oi exalting human nature with what ability I have. 

The heart of Man is so naturally disposed to benevolence, 
that the spectacle of a ruin which brings to our recollection only 
the misery of our fellow men, inspires us with horror, whatever 
may be the picturesque effect which it presents. I happened 
to be at Dresden in the year 1765, that is several years after it 
had been bombarded. That small but very beautiful and com- 
mercial city, more than half composed of little palaces charm- 
ingly aiTanged, the fronts of which were adorned externally 
with paintings, colonades, balconies, and pieces of sculpture, at 
that time presented a pile of ruins. A considerable part of the 
enemy's bombs had been directed against the Lutheran church, 
called St. Peter's, built in form of a rotundo, and arched over 
with so much solidity that a great number of those bombs struck 
the cupola, without being able to injure it, but rebounded on 
the adjoining palaces, which they set on fire and partly consu- 
med. Matters were still in the same state at the conclusion of 
the war, at the time of my arrival. They had only piled up 
along some of the streets, the stones which encumbered them ; 
so that they formed on each side long parapets of blackened 
stone. You mightUee halves of palaces standing, laid open 
from the roof down to the cellars. It was easy to distinguish 
in them the extremity of stair-cases, painted ceilings, little clo- 
sets lined with Chinese paper, fragments of mirrors, of marble 
chimneys, of smoked gildings. Of others nothing remained 
except massy stacks of chimneys rising amidst the rubbish, like 
long black and white pyramids. More than a third part of the 
city was reduced to this deplorable condition. You saw the 
inhabitants moving backward and forward with a settled gloom 
on their faces, formerly so gay that they were called the French- 
men of Germany. Those ruins, which exhibited a multitude 
of accidents singularly remarkable, from their forms, their co- 
lours, and their grouping, threw the mind into a deep melan- 
choly ; for you saw nothing in them but the traces of the wrath 
of a King, who had not levelled his vengeance against the pon- 



STUDY XII. 255 

ilerous ramparts of a warlike city, but against the pleasant 
dwellings of an industrious people. I observed even more than 
one Prussian deeply affected at the sight. I by no means felt, 
though a stranger, that reflection of self-security^ which arises in 
us on seeing a danger against which we are sheltered ; but on 
the contrary a voice of affliction thrilled through my heart, say- 
ing to me, If this were thy country ! 

It is not so with ruins which are the effect of time. These 
give pleasure by launching us into infinity ; they carry us seve- 
ral ages back, and interest us in proportion to their antiquit}-. 
This is the reason that the ruins of Italy affect us moi-e than 
those of our own country ; the ruins of Greece more than those 
of Italy ; and the ruins of Egypt more than those of Greece. 
The first antique monument which I had ever seen was in the 
vicinity of Orange. It is a triumphal arch which Marias caused 
to be erected to commemorate his victory over the Cimbri. It 
stands at a small distance from the city in the midst of fields. 
It is an oblong mass, consisting of three arcades, somewhat re- 
sembling the gate of St. Dennis. On getting near I became all 
eyes to gaze at it. What ! exclaimed I, a work of the ancient 
Romans ! And imagination instantly hurried me away to Rome, 
and to the age of Marias. It would not be easy for me to de- 
scribe all the successive emotions which were excited in my 
breast. In the first place, this monument, though erected over 
the sufferings of Mankind, as all the triumphal arches in Eu- 
rope are, gave me no pain ; for I recollected that the Cimbri had 
come to invade Italy, like bands of robbers. I remarked, that 
if this triumphal arch was a memorial of the victories of the 
Romans over the Cambri, it was likewise a monument of the 
triumph of Time over the Romans. I could distinguish upon it, 
in the bass-relief of the frize, which represents a battle, an ensign 
containing these characters clearly legible, S. P. Q. R. Senatus 
Pojndus ^le Rojnanus ; and another inscribed with M. O. the 
ineaning of which I could not make out. As to the warriors, 
they are so completely effaced that neither their arms nor their 
features are distinguishable. Even the limbs of some of them 
are worn out. The mass of this monument is, in other respects, 
in excellent preservation, excepting one of the square pillars 
that support the arch, which a vicar in the neighbourhood had 
demolished to repair his parsonage-house. This modem ruin 



256 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

suggested another train of reflection, respecting the exquisite 
skill of the Ancients in the construction of their public monu- 
ments ; for, though the pillar which supported one of the arch- 
es on one side, had been demolished, as I have mentioned, ne- 
vertheless that part of the arch which rested upon it hung un- 
supported in the air, as if the pieces of the vaulting had been 
glued to each other. Another idea likewise struck me, namely, 
that the demolishing parson might perhaps have been a de- 
scendant from the ancient Cimbri, as we modern French trace 
up our descent to the ancient Nations of the North which inva- 
ded Italy. Thus, the demolition excepted, of which I by no 
means approve, from the respect I bear to antiquity, I mused 
upon the vicissitudes of all human affairs, which put the victors 
in the place of the vanquished, and the vanquished in that of 
the victors. I settled the matter thus therefore in my own 
mind, that as Marius had avenged the honour of the Romans 
and levelled the glory of the Cimbri, one of the descendants of 
the Cimbri had, in his turn, levelled that of Marius ; while the 
young people of the vicinity, who might come perhaps on their 
days of festivity to dance under the shade of this triumphal 
arch, spent not a single thought about either the person who 
constructed, or the person who demolished it. 

The ruins in which Nature combats with human Art inspire 
a gentle melancholy. In these she discovers to us the vanity of 
our labours, and the perpetuity of her own. As she is always 
building up, even when she destroys, she calls forth from the 
clefts of our monuments the yellow gillyflower, the chenopodi- 
um, grasses of various sorts, wild cherry-trees, garlands of 
bramble, stripes of moss, and all the saxatile plants, which by 
their flowers and their attitudes form the most agreeable con- 
trasts with the rocks. 

I used to stop formerly with a high degree of pleasure in the 
garden of the Luxembourg, at the extremity of the alley of the 
Carmelites, to contemplate a piece of architecture which stands 
there, and which had been originally intended to form a foun- 
tain. On one side of the pediment which crowns it is stretch- 
ed along an ancient River-god, on whose face time has imprint- 
ed wrinkles inexpressibly more venerable than those which had 
been traced by the chisel of the Sculptor : it has made one of 
the thighs to drop ofl^", and has planted a maple tree in it's place. 



STUDY XII. 257 

Of the Naiad who was opposite, on the other side of the pe- 
diment, nought remains except the lower part of the bod}-. 
The head, the shoulders, the arms, have all disappeared. The 
hands are still supporting an urn, out of which issues, instead 
of fluviatic plants, some of those which thrive m the driest situ- 
ations, tufts of yellow gillyflowers, dandelions, and long sheaves 
of saxatile grasses. 

A fine style of Architecture always produces beautiful ruins. 
The plans of Art, in this case, form an alliance with the majes- 
ty of those of Nature. I know no object which presents a 
more imposing aspect than the antique and well-constructed 
towers which our ancestors reared on the summit of mountains, 
to discover their enemies from afar, and out of the coping of 
which now shoot out tall trees, with their tops waving majesti- 
cally in the wind. I have seen others, the parapets and battle- 
ments of which, murderous in former times, were embellished 
with the lilach in flower, whose shades, of a bright and tender 
violet hue, formed enchanting oppositions with the cavernous 
and embrowned stone-work of the tower. 

The interest of a ruin is greatly heightened when some mo- 
ral sentiment is blended with it ; for example, when those de- 
graded towers are considered as having been formerly the resi- 
dence of rapine. Such has been, in the Pais de Caux, an an- 
cient fortification called the castle of Lillebonne. The lofty 
walls which form it's precinct are ruinous at the angles, and so 
overgrown with ivy that there are very lew spots where the lay- 
ers of the stones are perceptible. From the middle of the 
courts, into which I believe it must have been no easy matter 
to penetrate, arise lofty towers with battlements, out of the sum- 
mit of which spring up great trees, appearing in the air like a 
head-dress of thick and bushy locks. You perceive here and 
there through the mantling of the ivy which clothes the sides 
of the casde, Gothic windows, embrasures, and breaches which 
give a glimpse of stair-cases, and resemble the entrance into a 
cavern. No bird is seen flying around this habitation of deso- 
lation, except the buzzard hovering over it in silence ; and if 
the voice of any of the feathered race makes itself sometimes 
heard there, it is that of some solitary owl which has retired 
thither to build her nest. This castle is situated on a rising 
ground, in the middle of a narrow valley formed by mountains 

Vol. II. K k 



258 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

crowned with forests. When I recollect, at sight of this mail' 
sion, that it was formerly the residence of petty tyrants, who 
before the royal authority was sufficiently established over the 
kingdom, from thence exercised their self-created right of pil- 
lage over their miserable vassals, and even over inoffensive pas- 
sengers who fell into their hands, I imagine to myself that I am 
contemplating the carcase, or the skeleton, of some huge, fero- 
cious beast of prey. 

The Pleasure of Tombs. 

But there are no monuments more interesting than the tombs 
of men, and especially those of our own ancestors. It is re- 
markable that every Nation, in a state of Nature, and even the 
greatest part of those which are civilized, have made the tombs 
of their fore-fathers the centre of their devotions, and an es- 
sential part of their religion. From these however must be 
excepted the people whose fathers render themselves odious to 
their children by a gloomy and severe education, I mean the 
western and southern Nations of Europe. This religious me- 
lancholy is diffused every where else. The tombs of progeni- 
tors are all over China among the principal embellishments of 
the suburbs of their cities, and of the hills in the country. 
They form the most powerful bonds of patriotic affection among 
savage Nations. When the Europeans have sometimes pro- 
posed to these a change of territory, this was their reply : " Shall 
" we say to the bones of our Fathers, Arise, and accompany us 
" to a foreign land?" They always considered this objection as 
insurmovm table. 

Tombs have furnished to the poetical talents of Toung- and 
Gesner^ imagery the most enchanting. Our voluptuaries, who 
sometimes recur to the sentiments of Nature, have factitious 
monuments erected in their gardens. These are not, it must 
be confessed, the tombs of their parents. But whence could 
they have derived this sentiment of funeral melancholy, in the 
very midst of pleasure ? Must it not have been from the per- 
suasion that something still subsists after we are gone ? Did a 
tomb suggest to their imagination, only the idea of what it is 
designed to contain, that is of a corpse merely, the sight of 
it v/ould shock rather than please them. How afraid are most 
of them at the thought of death! To this physical idea then 



STUDY XII. 259 

some moral sentiment must undoubtedly be united. The vo- 
luptuous melancholy resulting from it, arises, like every other 
attractive sensation, from the harmony of the two opposite prin- 
ciples ; from the sentiment of our fleeting existence, and th^ 
of our immortality ; which unite on beholding the last habita- 
tion of Mankind. A tomb is a monument erected on the con- 
fines of the two Worlds. 

It first presents to us the end of the vain disquietudes of life, 
and the image of everlasting repose : it afterwards awakens in 
us the confused sentiment of a blessed immortality, the proba- 
bilities of which grow stronger and stronger, in proportion as 
the person whose memory is recalled was a virtuous character. 
It is there that our veneration fixes. And this is so unques- 
tionably true, that though there be no difference between the 
dust of Nero and that of Socrates^ no one would grant a place in 
his grove to the remains of the Roman Emperor, were they de- 
posited even in a silver urn ; whereas every one would exhibit 
those of the Philosopher in the most honourable place of his best 
apartment, were they contained in only a vase of clay. 

It is from this intellectual instinct therefore in favour of vir- 
tue, that the tombs of great men inspire us with a veneration so 
affecting. From the same sentiment too it is, that those which 
contain objects that have been lovely excite so much pleasing 
regret ; for, as we shall make appear presently, the attractions 
of love arise entirely out of the appearances of virtue. Hence 
it is that we are moved at the sight of a little hillock which 
covers the ashes of an amiable infant, from the recollection of 
it's innocence : hence again it is, that we are melted into ten- 
derness on contemplating the tomb in which is laid to repose a 
young female, the delight and the hope of her family by reason 
of her virtues. In order to render such monuments interesting 
and respectable there is no need of bronzes, marbles, and gild- 
mgs. The more simple that they are the more energy they 
communicate to the sentiment of melancholy. They produce a 
more powerful effect when poor rather than rich, antique rather 
than modem, with details of misfortune rather than M'ith titles 
of honour, with the attributes of virtue rather than with those of 
power. It is in the country principally that their impression 
makes itself felt in a very lively manner. A simple, unorna- 
mented grave there, causes more tears to flow than the gaudy 



2G0 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

splendor of a cathedral interment.* There it is tliat grief as- 
sumes sublimity ; it ascends with the aged yews in the church- 
yard ; it extends with the surrounding hills and plains ; it allies 
itself with all the effects of Nature, with the dawning of the 
morning, with the murmuring of the winds, with the setting of 
the Sun, and with the darkness of the night. 

Labour the most oppressive, and humiliation the most de- 
grading, are incapable of extinguishing the impression of this 
sentiment in the breasts of even the most miserable of Mankind. 
" During the space of two years," says Father du Tertre^ " our 
" negro Dominick^ after the death of his wife, never failed for 
" a single day, as soon as he returned from the place of his em- 
" ployment, to take the little boy and girl which he had by her, 
*' and to conduct them to the grave of the deceased, over which 
*' he sobbed and wept before them for more than half an hour 
*' together, while the poor children frequently caught the infec- 
" tion of his sorrow."f What a funeral oration for a wife and a 
mother ! This man however was nothing but a wretched slave.:j: 

* Our Artists set statues of marble a-weeping' round the tombs of tlie 
Great. It is very proper to make statues weep where men shed no tears. I 
have been many a time present at the funeral obsequies of the rich ; but rare- 
ly have I seen any one shedding' a tear on such occasions, unless it were, now 
" and then^ an aged dome.stir, who w.a.ti ppvha.p.s left destitute. Some time ago 
happening to pass through a little -frequented street of the Fauxbourg Saint- 
_Marceau, I perceived a coffin at the door of a house of but mean appearance. 
Close by the coffin was a woman on her knees in earnest prayer to GOD, and 
who had all the appearance of being absorbed in grief. This poor woman hav- 
ing caught with her eye, at the farther end of the street, the priests and their 
attendants coming to carry off the body, got upon her feet and run off, putting 
her hands upon her eyes, and crying bitterly. The neighbours endeavoured 
to stop her and to administer some consolation ; but all to no purpose. As 
she passed close by me, I took the liberty to ask if it were the loss of a mo- 
ther or of a daughter that she lamented so piteously. " Alas ! Sir," said 
she, the tears gushing down her cheeks, " I am mourning the loss of a good 
** lady who procured me the means of earning my poor livelihood ; she kept 
" me employed from day to day." I informed myself in the neighbourhood 
respecting the condition of this beneficent lady : she was the wife of a petty 
joiner. Ye people of wealth. What use tlien do you make of riches, during 
your life-time, seeing no tears are shed over yom* grave ! 

f History of the Antilles, torn. viii. chap. 1. sect. 4. 

1 1 am somewhat surprised that our author has not, in this place, made 
mention of the fine French print engraved by Ingouf the younger, after a 
painting by Lc Barbicr I'ainc, painter to the la-st King- of France, Itrepre<- 



STUDY XII. 261 

There farther resuhs, from the view of ruins, another senti^ 
ment independent of all reflection : it is that of heroism. Great 
Generals have oftener than once employed their sublime effect 
in order to exalt the courage of the soldiers. Alexander per- 
suaded his army, loaded with the spoils of Persia, to bum their 
baggage ; and the moment that the fire was applied, they are on 
tiptoe to follow him all over the World. William^ Duke of 
Normandy, as soon as he had landed his troops in England, set 
fire to his own ships, and the conquest of the kingdom was ef- 
fected. 

But there are no ruins which excite in us sentiments so sub- 
lime as those which the ruins of Nature produce. They repre- 
sent to us the vast prison of the Earth in which we are immured 
subject itself to destruction ; and they detach us at once from 
our passions and prejudices, as from a momentary and frivolous 
theatrical exhibition. When Lisbon was destroyed by an earth- 
quake, it's inhabitants on making their escape from their houses 
embraced each other ; high and low, friends and enemies, Jews 
and Inquisitors, known and unknown ; every one shared his 
clothing and provisions with those who had saved nothing. I 
have seen something similar to this take place on board a ship 
on the point of perishing in a storm. The first effect of calami- 
ty, says a celebrated Writer, is -to strengthen the soul, and the 
second is to melt it down. It is because the first emotion in 
Man, under the pressure of calamity, is to rise up toward the 
Deity ; and the second, to fall back into physical wants. This 
last effect is that of reflection ; but the moral and sublime senti- 
ment, almost always, takes possesion of the heart at sight of a 
magnificent destruction. 

Rut7is of Nature. 

When the predictions of the approaching dissolution of the 
World spread over Europe, some ages ago, a very great number 

scnts two Canadians, a woman and her husband, at the tomb of their child 
'I'he print is founded upon a story related by Raynal : I was g-oing to say, n^* 
matter whether Uie story be an authentic one. At all events, such feciinga 
are far from being incompatible with the character and condition of the 
American savag-e. I have myself witnessed tlic tender bewailings of a young- 
Indian woman, at the ^n-ave of her child, recently interred : her mourning-, 
there could be no reason to doubt, was sincere. It was in the solitude, as it 
were, of a wilderness, and she knew not that she was seen of anvone.— B. S. B. 



262 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

of persons divested themselves of their property ; and there is no 
reason to doubt that the very same thing would happen at this 
day, should similar opinions be propagated with effect. But 
such sudden and total ruins are not to be apprehended in the 
infinitely sage plans of Nature : under them nothing is destroyed 
but what is by them repaired. 

The apparent ruins of the Globe, such as the rocks which 
roughen it's surface in so many places, have their utility. Rocks 
have the appearance of ruins in our eyes only because they are 
neither square nor polished, like the stones of our monuments ; 
but their anfractuosities are necessary to the vegetables and ani- 
mals which are destined to find in them nourishment and shelter. 
It is only for beings vegetative and sensitive that Nature has 
created the fossil kingdom ; and as soon as man raises useless 
masses out of it to these objects on the surface of the Earth, she 
hastens to apply her chisel to them, in order to employ them in 
the general harmony. 

If we attend to the origin and the end of her Works, those of 
the most renowned Nations will appear perfectly frivolous. It 
was not necessary that mighty Potentates should rear such enor- 
mous masses of stone, in order one day to inspire me with re- 
spect from their antiquity. A little flinty pebble in one of our 
brooks is more ancient than the pyramids of Egypt. A multi- 
tude of cities have been destroyed since it was created. If I 
feel myself disposed to blend some moral sentiment with the 
monuments of Nature, I can say to myself, on seeing a rock : 
" It was on this place perhaps that the good Fenelon reposed, 
" while meditating the plan of his divine Telemachus ; perhaps 
" the day will come when there shall be engraved on it, that he 
" had produced a revolution in Europe, by instructing Kings 
" that their glory consisted in rendering Mankind happy : and 
" that the happiness of Mankind depends on the labours of 
" agriculture : posterity will gage with delight on the very stone 
" on which my eyes are at this moment fixed." It is thus that 
I embrace at once the past and the future, at sight of an insensi- 
ble rock, and which, in consecrating it to virtue, by a simple in- 
scription, I render infinitely more venerable than by decorating 
it M'ith the five orders of Architecture. 



STUDY XII. 263 

Of the Pleasure of Solitude, 

Once more, it is melancholy which renders solitude so attrac- 
tive. Solitude flatters our animal insticct by inviting us to a 
retreat so much more tranquil as the agitations of our life have 
been more restless ; and it extends our divine instinct, by open- 
ing to us perspectives in which natural and moral beauties pre- 
sent themselves with all the attraction of sentiment. From the 
effect of these contrasts, and of this double harmony, it comes to 
pass, that there is no solitude more soothing than that which is 
adjoining to a great city; and no popular festivity more agreea- 
ble than that which is enjoyed in the bosom of solitude. 

OF THE SENTIMENT OF LOVE. 

Were love nothing superior to a physical sensation, I would 
wish for nothing more than to leave two lovers to reason and to 
act, conformably to the physical laws of the motion of the blood, 
of the filtration of the chyle, and of the other humours of the bo- 
dy, were it my object to give the grossest libertine a disgust for 
it. It's principal act itself is accompanied with the sentiment of 
shame, in the men of all countries. No nation permits public 
prostitution; and though enlightened Navigators may have ad- 
vanced that the inhabitants of Otaheite conformed to this infa- 
mous practice, observers more attentive have since adduced 
proof, that as to the island in question it was chargeable only 
on young women in the lowest rank of Society, but that the 
other classes there preserved the sense of modesty common to 
all mankind. 

I am incapable of discovering in Nature any direct cause of 
shame. If it be alleged that Man is ashamed of the venerial 
act because it renders him similar to the animal, the reason will 
be found insufficient ; for sleep, drinking, and eating, bring him 
still more frequently to the similitude of the animal, and yet no 
shame attaches to these. There is in truth a cause of shame in 
the physical act : but whence proceeds that which occasions the 
mural sentiment of it ? Not only is the act carefully kept out of 
sight, but even the recollection of it. Woman considers it as a 
proof of her weakness : she opposes long resistance to the soli- 
citations of Man. How comes it that Nature has planted this 



264. STUDIES OF NATURE. 

obstacle in her heart, which in many cases actually triumphs 
over the most powerful of propensities, and the most headstrong 
of passions ? 

Independently of the particular causes of shame, which are 
unknown to me, I think I discern one in the two powers of 
which Man is constituted. The sense of love being, if I may 
so express myself, the centre toward which all the physical sen- 
sations converge, as those of perfumes, of music, of agreea- 
ble colours and forms, of the touch, of delicate temperatures and 
savours ; there results from these a very powerful opposition to 
that other intellectual power from which are derived the senti- 
ments of divinity and immortality. Their contrast is so much 
the more coUisive, that the act of the first is in itself animal and 
blind, and that the moral sentiment which usually accompanies 
love, is more expansive and more sublime. The lover accord- 
ingly, in order to render his mistress propitious, never fails to 
make this take the lead, and to employ every effort to amalga- 
mate it with the other sensation. Thus shame arises, in my 
opinion, from the combat of these two powers ; and this is the 
reason that children naturally have it not, because the sense of 
love is not yet unfolded in them ; that young persons have a 
great deal of it, because these two powers are acting in them 
with all their energy ; and that most old people have none at all, 
because they are past the sense of love from a decay of Nature 
in them, or have lost it's moral sentiment from the corruption of 
society ; or, which is a common case, from the effect of both to- 
gether, by the concurrence of these two causes. 

As Nature has assigned to the province of this passion, which 
is designed to be the means of re-perpetuating human life, all 
the animal sensations, she has likewise united in it all the sen- 
timents of the soul ; so that love presents to two lovers not only 
the sentiments which blend with our wants, and with the instinct 
of our misery, such as those of protection, of assistance, of con- 
fidence, of support, of repose, but all the sublime instincts be- 
sides which elevate Man above humanity. In this sense it is 
that Plato defined love to be, an interposition of the Gods in 
behalf of young people.* 

* It was by means of the sublime Influence of this passion that the Thebans 
formed a battalion of heroes, called the sacred band ; they all fell tog-ether 
in tlie battle of Cheronea. They were found extended on the ground, all in 



STUDY XII. 265 

Whoever would wish to be acquainted with human nature 
has only to study that of love ; he would perceive springing out 
of it all the sentiments of which I have spoken, and a multitude 
of others which I have neither time nor talents to unfold. We 
shall remark, first, that this natural affection discloses, in every 
being, it's principal character, by giving it all the advantage of 
a complete extension. Thus, for example, it is in the season 
when each plant re-perpetuates itself by it's flowers and it's 
fruit, that it acquires all it's perfection, and the characters which 

Ibe same straiglit line, transfixed with ghastly wounds before, and with their 
faces turned toward the enemy. This spectacle drew tears from the eyes of 
Philip himself, their conqueror. Lycurgiis had likewise employed the power 
of love in the education of the Spartans, and rendered it one of the ^eat 
props of his republic. But as the animal counterpoise of this celestial senti- 
ment was no longer found in the beloved object, it sometimes threw the 
Greeks into certain irregularities, which have justly been imputed to them 
us matter of reproach. Their legislators considered women as the instru- 
ments merely of procreating children ; they did not perceive that by favour- 
ing love between men, they enfeebled that which ought to unite the sexes, 
and that in attempting to strengthen Iheir political bands, they were bursting 
asunder those of Nature. 

The Republic of Lycurgns had besides other natural defects ; I mention 
only one, the slavery of Helots. These two particulars however excepted, I 
consider him as the most sublime genius that ever existed : and even as to 
lliesc he stands in some measure excusable, in consideration of the obstacles 
of every kind which he had to encounter in tlie establisliment of his Laws. 

Thei'e are in the harmonics of the dificrent ages of human life relations so 
delightful, of the weakness of children to the vigour of their parents, of the 
courage and the lo\'e between young persons of the two sexes to the virtue 
and the religion of unimpassioned old people, that I am astonished no at- 
tempt has been made to present a picture, at least, of a hunian society thus 
In concord with all the wants of life, and with the Laws of Xaturc. There are 
it is true some sketches of this sort in the Telemachus, among others, in the 
manners of the inhabitants of Boetica ; but they are indicated merely. I am 
persuaded that such a Society, thus cemented in all it's parts, would attaia 
the highest degree of social felicity of wliich human nature is susceptible in 
this World, and would be able to bid defiance to all the storms of political 
agitation. So far from being exposed to the fear of danger on the part of 
neiglibounng States, it might make an easy coiiqucst of them without the 
use of arms, as ancient China did, simply by the spectacle of it's felicity, 
and by the influence of it's virtues. I once entertained a design, on the sug- 
gestion of/. J. Rousseau, of extending this idea, by composing the History 
of a Nation of Greece, well known to the Poets, because it lived conformably 
to Nature, and for that very reason almost altogether unknown to our politi- 
cal Writers ; but time permitted me only to ti-ace tlie outline of it, or at most 
to finish the first Book 

Vol. II. L 1 



266 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

invariably determine it. It is in the season of love that the 
birds of song redouble their melody, and that those which excel 
in the beauty of their colouring array themselves in their finest 
plumage, the various shades of which they delight to display, 
by swelling their throats, by rounding their tail into the form of 
a wheel, or by extending their wings along the ground. It is 
then that the lusty bull presents his forehead, and threatens with 
the horn ; that the nimble courser frisks along the plain ; that 
the ferocious animals fill the forests with the dreadful noise of 
their roaring, and the tigress, exhaling the odour of carnage, 
makes the solitudes of Africa to resound with her hideous yells, 
and appears clothed with every horrid, attractive grace, in the 
eyes of her tremendous lover. 

It is likewise in the season of loving, that all the aflfections 
natural to the heart of Man, unfold themselves. Then it is 
that innocence, candour, sincerity, modesty, generosity, hero- 
ism, holy faith, piety, express themselves with grace ineflfable in 
the attitude and features of two young lovers. Love assumes 
in their souls all the characters of religion and virtue. They 
betake themselves to flight, far n-om the tumultuous assemblies 
of the city, and from the corruptive paths of ambition, in quest 
of some sequestered spot, where upon the rural altar they may 
be at liberty to mingle and exchange the tender vows of ever- 
lasting affection. The fountains, the woods, the dawning Au- 
rora^ the constellations of the night, receive by turns the sacred 
deposit of the oath of Love. Lost at times in a religious in-r 
toxication, they consider each other as beings of a superior or- 
der. The mistress is a goddess, the lover becomes an idolater. 
The grass under their feet, the air which they breathe, the 
shades under which they repose, all, all appear consecrated in 
their eyes from filling the same atmosphere v.ith them. In the 
widely extended Universe they behold no other felicity but that 
of living and dying together, or rather they have lost all sight 
of death. Love transports them into ages of infinite duration, 
and death seems to them only the transition to eternal union. 

But should cruel destiny separate them from each other, nei- 
ther the prospects of fortune, nor the friendship of companions 
the most endeared, can afford consolation under the loss. They 
had reached Heaven, they languish on the earth, they are hur- 
ried in their despair into the retirement of the cloister, to em 



STUDY XII. 267 

ploy the remaining dregs of life in re-demanding of GOD the 
felicity of which they enjoyed but one transient glimpse. Nay 
many an irksome year after their separation, when the cold 
hand of age has frozen up the current of sense ; after having 
been distracted by a thousand and a thousand anxieties foreign 
to the heart, which so many times made them forget that they 
were human, the bosom still palpitates at sight of the tomb 
which contains the object once so tenderly beloved* They had 
parted with it in the World, they hope to see it again in Hea- 
ven. Unfortunate Heloha t what sublime emotions were kin- 
dled in thy soul by the ashes of thy Abelard? 

Such celestial emotions cannot possibly be the effects of a 
mere animal act. Love is not a slight convulsion, as the di- 
vine Marcus- Aurelius calls it. It is to the charms of virtue, and 
to the sentiment of her divine attributes, that love is indebted 
for all that enthusiastic energy. Vice itself, in order to please, 
is under the necessity of borrowing it's looks and it's language. 
If theatrical female performers captivate so many lovers, the se- 
duction is carried on by mcanj of the illusions of innocence, of 
benevolence, and of magnanimity, displayed in the characters 
of the shepherdesses, of the heroines, and of the goddesses, 
which they are accustomed to represent. Their boasted graces 
are only the appearances of the virtues which they counterfeit. 
If sometimes, on the contrary :, virtue becomes displeasing, it is 
because she exhibits herself in the disguise of harshness, ca- 
price, peevishness, or some other repulsive bad qualit}-. 

Thus beauty is the offspring of virtue, and ugliness that of 
vice ; and these characters frequently impress themselves from 
the earliest infancy by means of education. It will be objected 
to me that there are men handsome yet vicious, and others 
homely yet virtuous. Socrates and Alcibiades have been ad- 
duced as noted instances in ancient times. But these ver\' ex- 
amples confirm my position. Socrates was unhappy and vicious 
at the time of life when the physionomy assumes it's principal 
characters, from infancy up to the age of seventeen years. He 
was born in a poor condition ; his farther had determined, not- 
withstanding his own declared reluctance, to breed him to the 
art of sculpture. Nothing less than the authority of an oracle 
could rescue him from this parental tyranu)-. Socrates acknow- 
ledged, in conformity to the decision of a Phvsionomist, that 



268 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

he was addicted to women and wine, the vices into which mea 
are usually thrown by the pressure of calamity : at length he 
became reformed, and nothing could be more beautiful than this 
Philosopher when he discoursed about the Deity. As to the 
happy Alcibiades^ born in the very lap of fortune, the lessons of 
Socrates^ and the love of his parents and fellow-citizens, ex- 
panded in him at once beauty of person and soul ; but having 
been at last betrayed into irregular courses, through the influence 
of evil communications, nothing remained but the bare physio- 
nomy of virtue. Whatever seduction may be apparent in their 
first aspect, the ugliness of vice soon discovers itself on the 
faces of handsome men degraded into wickedness. You can 
perceive, even under their smiles, a certain marked trait of 
falsehood and perfidy. This dissonance is communicated even 
to the voice. Every thing about them is masked like their face. 

I beg leave farther to observe, that all the forms of organized 
beings express intellectual sentiments, not only to the eyes of 
Man, who studies Nature, but to those of animals, which are 
instructed at once by their insti^t, in such particulars of know- 
ledge as are in mrtny respects so obscure to us» Thus, for ex- 
ample, every species of animal has certain traits which are ex- 
pressive of it's character. From the sparkling and restless eyes 
of the tiger you may discover his ferocity and perfidy. The 
gluttony of the hog is announced by the vulgarity of his attitude, 
and b}- the inclination of his head toward the ground. All ani- 
mals are perfectly well acquainted with those characters, for the 
Laws of Nature are universal. For instance, though there be 
in the e}'es of man, unless he is very attentive, an exceedingly 
slight exterior difference between a fox and a species of dog 
which resembles him, the hen will never mistake the one for the 
other. She v/ill take no alarm on the approach of the dog, but 
will be seized with horror the instant that the fox appears. 

It is still farther to be remarked, that every animal expresses 
in it's features some one ruling passion, such as cruelty, sensu- 
ality, cunning, stupidity. But Man alone, unless he has been 
debased by the vices of Society, bears upon his countenance the 
impress of a celestial origin. There is no one trait of beauty 
but what may be referred to some virtue : such an one belongs 
to innocence, such another to candour, those to generosity., to 
jnodestv, to heroism. It is to their influence that Man is indebt- 



STUDY XII. 269 

cd, in every country, for the respect and confidence with whick 
he is honoured by the brute creation, unless they have been for- 
ced out of Nature by unrelenting persecution on the part of Man. 

Whatever charms may appear in the harmony of the colours 
and forms of the human figure, there is no visible reason why 
it's physical effect should exert an influence over animals, unless 
the impress of some moral power were combined with it. The 
plumpness of form, or the freshness of colouring, ought rather to 
excite the appetite of ferocious animals, than their respect or 
their love. Finally, as we are able to distinguish their impas- 
sioned character, they in like manner can distinguish ours, and 
are capable of forming a very accurate judgment as to our being 
cruel or pacific. 'I'he game-birds, which fly the sanguinary 
fowler, gather confidently around the harmless shepherd. 

It has been affirmed that beauty is arbitrary in every Nation ; 
but this opinion has been already refuted by an appeal to matter 
of fact. The mutilations of the Negroes, their incisions into 
the skin, their flattened noses, their compressed foreheads ; the 
flat, long, round, and pointed Jh»ds of the savages of North- 
America ; the perforated lips of the Brasilians ; the large ears 
of the people of Laos, in Asia, and of some Nations of Guiana, 
are the effects of superstition, or of a faulty education. The fe- 
rocious animals themselves are struck at sight of these deformi- 
ties. All travellers unanimously concur in their testimony that 
when lions or tygers are famished, which rarely happens, and 
thereby reduced to the necessity of attacking caravans in the 
night time, they fall first upon the beasts of burden, and next 
upon the Indians, or the black people. The European figure, 
with it's simplicity, has a much more imposing eff'ect upon them, 
than when disfigured by African or Asiatic characters. 

When it has not been degraded by the vices of Society, the 
expression of the human face is sublime. A Neapolitan of the 
name of 'John-BapUste Porta^ took it into his head to trace in 

• Porta was a man of genius, and of much imagination, but his writings. 
from tiic general extravagance of their tenor, are now hardly i"ead, and not 
at all respected. Ilis principal work, the one referred to by Saint-Pierre, is 
entitled De Humana Physiognomia, in four books, first printed in 1586. He 
also published a work, in six books, De Physio^omia Coelesti. I do not doubt 
that those wlio attach themselves to such researches, may glean from Porta's 
books some valuable facts, and many UKci'uJ hints : but I cannot believe, what 



270 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

it relations to the figures of the beasts. To this effect he has 
composed a book embellished with engravings, representing the 
human head under the forced resemblance of the head of a dog, 
of a horse, of a sheep, of a hog, and of an ox. His system is 
somewhat favourable to certain modern opinions, and forms a 
very tolerable alliance with the hideous changes which the pas- 
sions produce in the human form. But I should be glad to 
know after what animal Pigale has copied that charming Mer- 
cury which I have seen at Berlin ; and after the passions of 
what brutes tiie Grecian Sculptors produced the Jupiter of the 
Capitol, the Ve7ms piidica, and the Apollo of the Vatican ? In 
what animals have they studied those divine expressions ? 

I am thoroughly persuaded, as I have said already, that there 
is not a single beautiful touch in a figure but v/hat may be allied 
to some moral sentiment, relative to virtue and to Deity. The 
traits of ugliness might be in like manner referred to some vi- 
cious affection, such as jealousy, avarice, gluttony, or rage. In 
order to demonstrate to our Philosophers how far they are wide 
of the mark, when they attenafc to make the passions the only 
moving principles of human life, I wish they could be presented 
with the expression of all the passions collected in one single 
head ; for example, the wanton and obscene leer of a courtezan, 
with the deceitful and haughty air of an ambitious courtier ; 
and accompanied with an infusion of some touches of hatred 
and envy, which are negative ambitions. A head which should 
unite them all would be more horrid than that of Medusai it 
would be a likeness of Nero. 

Every passion has an animal character as J ohn-Bapt'iste Por- 
ta excellently observed. But every virtue too has it's animal 
character ; and never is a physiognomy more interesting than 
when you distinguish in it a celestial affection conflicting with 
an animal passion. Nay I do not know whether it be possible 
to express a virtue otherwise than by a triumph of this kind. 
Hence it is that modesty appears so lovely on the face of a 
young female, because it is the conflict of the most powerful of 
animal passions with a sublime sentiment. The expression of 
sensibility likewise renders a face extremely interesting, because 

a certain writer has asserted, that these books contain at least as 'nany truth* 
as errors. — T5, S B 



STUDY XII. 271 

the soul, in this case, shews itself in a state of suffering, and 
because the sight of this excites a virtue in ourselves, namely 
the sentiment of compassion. If the sensibility of the figure in 
question is active, that is if it springs itself out of the contem- 
plation of the misery of another, it strikes us still more, because 
then it becomes the divine expression of generosity. 

I have a conviction that the most celebrated statues and pic- 
tures of Antiquity owe much of their high reputation entirely 
to the expression of this double character, that is to the harmo- 
ny arising out of the two opposite sentiments of passion and 
virtue. This much is certain, that the most justly boasted mas- 
ter-pieces in sculpture and painting among the Ancients, all 
presented this kind of contrast. Of this abundance of exam- 
ples might be adduced from their statues, as the Fenus pudica, 
and the dying Gladiator, who preserves even when fallen, re 
spect for his own glory, at the moment he is sinking into the 
arms of death. Such likewise was that of Cupid hurling the 
thunder after the infant AlcibiadeSy which Pliny ascribes to 
Praxiteles^ or to Scopas. An att^ble child, launching from his 
little hand the dread thunderbo^^f Jupiter^ must excite at once 
the sentiment of innocence, and that of terror. With the cha- 
racter of the God was blended that of a man equally attractive 
and formidable. 

I believe that the paintings of the Ancients expressed still 
better those harmonies of opposite sentiments. Pliny ^ who has 
preserved to us the memory of the most noted of them, quotes 
among others a picture by Aihcnion of Maronea, which repre- 
sented the cautious and crafty Ulysses detecting Achilles under 
the disguise of a young woman, by presenting an assortment of 
female trinkets, among which he had carelessly, and without 
appearance of art, introduced a sword. The lively emotion 
with which Achilles lays hold of that sword, must have exhibited 
a charming contrast with the habit, and the composed deport- 
ment of his nymph character. There must have resulted ano- 
ther no less interesting, in the character of Ulysses, with his air 
of reserve, and the expression of his satisfaction under the re- 
straint of prudence, fearful lest in discovering Achilles he should 
at the same time betray himself. 

Another piece still more affecting, from the pencil of Aristides 
of Thebes, represented Biblis languishing to death of the love 



272 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

which she bare to her own brother. In it there must have been 
distinctly represented the sentiment of virtue repelling the idea 
of a criminal passion, and that of fraternal friendship, which re- 
called the heart to love under the very appearances of virtue. 
These cruel consonances ; despair at the thought of being be- 
trayed by her own heart, the desire of dying, in order to con- 
ceal her shame, the desire of life to enjoy the sight of the be- 
loved object, health wasting away under the pressure of con- 
flicts so painful, must have expressed, amidst the languors of 
death and of life, contrasts the most interesting, on the counte- 
nance of that ill-fated maid. 

In another picture of the same Aristides was represented to 
admiration, a mother wounded in the breast during the siege of 
a city, giving suck to her infant. She seemed afraid, says Pliny^ 
lest it should draw in her blood together with her milk. Alex- 
ander prized it so highly that he had it conveyed to Pella the 
place of his birth. What emotions must have been excited, in 
contemplating a triumph so exalted as that of maternal affection 
absorbing all sense of person As uffering ! Pousszn, as we have 
seen, has borrowed from this virtue the principal expression of 
his picture of the Deluge. 

Rubens has employed it in a most wonderful manner in giv- 
ing expression to the face of his Mary de Medicis^ in which you 
distinguish at once the anguish and the joy of child-bearing. 
He farther heightens the violence of the physical passion, by 
the careless attitude into which the Queen is thrown, in an easy- 
chair, and by her naked foot, which has shaken off the slipper ; 
and on the other hand, he conveys the sublimity of the moral 
sentiment awakened in her by the high destiny of her infant, 
who is presented to her by a God, reposed in a cradle of bunches 
of grapes and ears of corn, symbols of the felicity of his reign. 

It is thus that the great Masters, not satisfied with opposing 
mechanically groupes of figures and vacuity, shades and lights, 
children and old m«n, feet and hands, pursue with unremitting 
care those contrasts of our internal powers which express them- 
selves on *' the human face divine." in touches ineffable, and 
which must constitute the eternal charm of their productions. 
The Works of Le Sueur abound in these contrasts of sentiment, 
and he places them in such perfect harmony with those of the 
elementary nature, that the result from them is the sweetest apd 



STUDY XII. 273 

the most profound melancholy. But it has been much easier 
for his pencil to paint, than for my pen to describe them. 

I shall adduce but one example more to my present purpose, 
taken from Poussin^ an Artist most admirable for his skill in 
graphic composition, but whose colours have suffered conside- 
rably from the hand of time. The piece to which I refer is his 
picture of the rape of the Sabine women. While the Roman 
soldiery are carrying off by force in their arms the terrified 
young women of the Sabines, there is a Roman officer, who is 
desirous of getting possession of one extremel)- beautiful as well 
as young. She has taken refuge in the arms of her mother. 
He dares not presume to offer violence to her, but seems to ad- 
dress the mother with all the ardour of love tempered with re- 
spect ; his countenance thus speaks; " She will be happy with 
" me ! Let e be indebted for her to love, and not to fear ! I 
*' am less eager to rob you of a daughter^ <han to give you a 
" son." It is thus that, while he conforms himself in dressing 
his characters to the simplicity of the age which rendered aU 
conditions nearly similar, he hM distinguished the officer from 
the soldier not by his garb but by his manners. He has caught, 
as he usually does, the mox'al character of his subject, which pro- 
duces a very different effect from that of mere costume. 

I should have been extremely happy had we been favoured 
from the pencil of the same ingenious Artist, with a representa- 
tion of these same female Sabines, after they had become wives 
and mothers, rushing in between the two contending armies of 
the Sabines and Romans, " Running," as Plutarch tells us, 
" some on this side, others on that, in tears, shrieking, exclaim- 
" ing ; thrusting themselves through the clashing of arms, and 
*' heaps of the dead strewed along the ground, like persons fran- 
*' tic or possessed with a spirit, carrying their sucking infants in 
*' their arms, with hair dishevelled, appealing now to Romans, 
" now to Sabines, by every tender adjuration that can reach the 
'' heart of Man."* 

The most powerful effects of love, as has been said, arise out 
of contradictory feelings melting into each other, just as tiiose 
of hatred frequently are produced ' from similar sentiments 
which happen to clash. Hence it is that no feeling can be morp 

* PJutarch's life of Ruinului 

Vol. IL Mm 



274 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

agreeable than to find a friend in a man whom \vc considered as 
an enemy ; and no mortification so poignant as meeting an ene- 
my in the man whom we depended upon as a friend. These 
harmonic effects often render a slight and transient kindness 
more estimable than a continued series of good offices ; and a 
momentary offence more outrageous than the declared enmity 
of a whole life-time ; because in the first case, feelings diame- 
trically opposite graciously unite ; and in the second congenial 
feelings violently clash. Hence too it is that a single blemish, 
amidst the valuable qualities of a man of worth, frequently ap- 
pears more offensive than all the vices of a libertine who dis- 
plays only a solitary virtue, because from the effect of contrast 
these two qualities become more prominent, and eclipse the 
others in the two opposite characters. It proceeds likewise 
from the weakness of the human mind, which attaching itself 
always to a single point of the object which it contemplates, 
fixes on the most prominent quality in framing it's decisions. 
It is impossible to enumerate the errors into which we are every 
day falling for want of studyinj| these elementary principles of 
Nature. It would be possible undoubtedly to extend them 
much farther ; it is sufficient for my purpose, if I have given a 
demonstration of their existence, and inspired others with an 
inclination to apply them properl)-. 

These harmonies acquire greater energy from the adjoining 
contrasts which detach them, from the consonances which re- 
peat them, and from the other elementary Laws which have 
been indicated : but if with these are blended some one of the 
moral sentiments of which I have been presenting a faint sketch, 
in this case the effect resulting from the whole is inexpressibly 
delightful. Thus, for example, a harmony becomes in some 
sort celestial, when it contains a mystery, which always suppo- 
ses something mai-vellous and divine. I one day felt a most 
agreeable effect, as I was looking over a collection of old prints 
which represented the history of Adonis. Voiiis had stolen the 
infant Adonis from Diana^ and w^as educating him with her son 
Cupid. Diana was determined to recover him, as being the son 
of one of her nymphs, Veims then having on a certain day 
alighted from her chariot drawn by doves, was walking with 
the two boys in a valley of Cytliera. Diana^ at the head of her 
armed retinue, places herself in ambush in a forest through 



STUDY XII. 275 

which Venus was to pass. Venus as soon as she perceived her 
adversary approaching, and incapable either to escape or to pre- 
vent the recapture of Adonis^ was instantly struck with the 
thought of clapping wings on his shoulders, and presenting Cu- 
pid and him together to Diana, desired her to take either of 
the children which she believed to be her property. Both be- 
ing equally beautiful, both of the same age, and both furnished 
with wings, the chaste Goddess of the woods was deterred from 
choosing either the one or the other, and refrained from taking 
Adonis for fear of taking Cupid. 

This fable contains several sentimental beauties. I related 
it one day to y. y. RousseaUy who was highly delighted with it. 
" Nothing pleases me so much," said he, " as an agreeable 
" image which conveys a moral sentiment." We were at that 
time in the plain of Neuilly, near a park in which we saw 3 
group of Love and Friendship, under the forms of a young man 
and young woman of fifteen or sixteen years of age, embracing 
each other with mouth to mouth. Having looked at it he said 
to me, " Here is an obscene image presented after a charming 
" idea. Nothing could have been more agreeable than a repre- 
" sentation of the two figures in their natural state ; Friendship, 
" as a grown young woman caressing an infant Cupid.''^ Bcing 
on this interesting subject, I repeated to him the conclusion of 
that touching fable of Philomela and Progne. 

Le desei"t est-il sait pour des talcns si beaux ? 
Venez faire aux cites eclater leurs merveilles : 

Aussi bien, en voyant las bois. 
Sans cesse il voiis souvient que Teree autrefois, 

Parrai des demeures pareilles, 
Exerca sa fureur sur vos divins appas. — 
Et c'est le souvenir d'un si ciniel outrat^e, 
Qui fait, reprit sa sccur, que jc ne vous suis pas 

En voyant Ics hommcs, helas ! 

II m'en souvient bien davantagc. 

Why waste such sweetness on the desert air ! 

Come, charm the city with thy tuneful notr. 
Think too, in solitude, that form so fair 

Felt violation : flee the horrid thought. 

Vh ! sister dear, sad Philomel replies, 
'Tis this that makes mc shun the haunts of men 

Tereus and Courts the anguish'd heart allies. 
And hastes, for "shelter, to the woods ag'ain. 



2^6 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

" What a series of ideas ! cried he, " how tenderly affecting 
" it is !" His voice was stifled, and the tears rushed to his eyes* 
I perceived that he was farther moved by the secret correspon- 
dencies between the talents and the destiny of that bird, and his 
own situation. 

It is obvious, then, in the two allegorical subjects of Diana 
and Adonis^ and of Lov^e and Friendship, that there are really 
within us two distinct powers, the harmonies of which exalt the 
soul, when the physical image throws us into a moral sentiment, 
as in the first example ; and abase it, on the contrary, when a 
moral sentiment recals us to a physical sensation, as in the ex- 
ample of Love and Friendship. 

The suppressed circumstances contribute farther ta the moral 
expressions, because they are conformable to the expansive na- 
ture of the soul. They conduct it over a vast field of ideas. It 
is to these suppressions that the fable of the Nightingale is in- 
debted for the powerful effect which it produces. Add to these 
a multitude of other oppositions, which I have not leisure to 
analyze. 

The farther that the physical image is removed from us the 
greater extension is given to the moral sentiment ; and the 
more circumscribed that the first is, the more energetic the sen- 
timent is rendered. It is this undoubtedly which communicates 
so much force to our affections, when we regret the death of a 
friend. Grief in this case conveys the soul from one World to 
the other, and from an object full of charms to a tomb. Hence 
it is that the following passage from yeremiah contains a strain 
of sublime raclancholy : Vox in Rayna audita est ; ploratus £if 
ululatus multus : Rachel plorans Jilios suos^ £s? noluit consolari^ 
quia lion sunt. " A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation 
" and bitter weeping ; Rachel weeping for her children, refu- 
" sed to be comforted, because they are not."* All the conso- 
lations which this World can administer are dashed to pieces 
against this word of maternal anguish, non sunt. 

The single jVf d''eaxi of Saint-Cloud pleases me more than all 
it's cascades. However, though the physical image should not 
escape and lose itself in infinity, it may convey sorrow thither, 
when it reflects the same sentiment. I find in Plutarch a noble 

* Jei'einiah, chap. xxxi. vcr. 1/^. 



STUDY XIL 27f 

effect of this progressive consonance. " Briitus^^ says he, " glv- 
" ing all up for lost, and having resolved to withdraw from Ita- 
" ly, passed by land through Lucania, and came to Elea which 
*' is situated on the sea-side. Portia being to return from thence 
*' to Rome, endeavoured to conceal the grief which oppressed 
" her in the prospect of their approaching separation ; but with 
" all her resolution and magnanimity she betrayed the sorrow 
" which was preying on her heart, on seeing a picture which 
" there accidentally caught her eye. The subject of the piece 
" was taken from the Iliad, and represented the parting of Hec- 
" tor and Andromache^ when he was preparing to take the field, 
" and at the instant when he was delivering the infant Astt/anac: 
" into the arms of his mother, while her eyes remain immove- 
" ably fixed on Hector. The resemblance which the picture bore 
*' to her own distress made her burst into tears ; and several 
*' times a day she resorted to the place where it hung to gaze 
" at it, and to weep before it. This being observed by Acilms, 
*' one of the friends of Brutus^ he repeated the passage from 
*' Homer in which Andromache expresses her inward emotion : 

H J^£ xa<rt'/v))T(^. c-J ^e fMi B-ctXip'®^ zrxpxxeirtiii. 

Yet while my Hector still survives, I see 
My father, mother, kindred, all in thee. 
My wedded Lord 

" Brutus replied with a smile, But J must not ansxver Portia in 
" the words of Hector to Andromache : 

AAA' f <4 o;>co» isvct, Tec e-etvr'Hii cfiyct Kof<>t^e, 
Irav t' ijA«K«tT>j» T£, xui »iitJpiz!-o>iOKn xtXiva. 

hasten to thy tasks at home. 

There g-uide the spindle, and direct the loom 

" For though the natural xveakness of her body prevents her from 
" acting xvhat the strength of men only can perform^ yet she has 
" a mi7id as valiant, and as active for the good of her Country, 
*' as zve haveJ'^ 

This picture was undoubtedly placed under the peristyle of 
sonic r.empK Ijuilt on the shore of th ■ Sea. Brutus was on the 
pomt of embarkiag without pomp, and without a retinae. His 



278 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

wife, the daughter of CatOy had accompanied him, perhaps on 
foot. The moment of separation approaches ; in order to soothe 
her anguish shefixes her eyes on that painting consecrated to the 
Gods. She beholds in it the last long farewel of Hector and 
Andromache ; she is overwhelmed ; and to reanimate her forti- 
tude turns her eyes upon her husband. The comparison is com- 
pleted, her courage forsakes her, tears gush out, conjugal affec- 
tion triumphs over love of Country. Two virtues in opposition! 
Add to these the characters of a wild nature, which blend so 
well with human grief: profound solitude, the columns and the 
cupola of that antique temple, corroded by the keen air of the 
Sea, and marbled over with mosses which give them the ap- 
pearance of green bronze ; a setting Sun which gilds the sum- 
mit of it ; the hollow murmurs of the Sea at a distance, break- 
ing along the coast of Lucania ; the towers of Elea perceptible 
in the bosom of a valley between two steep mountains, and that 
sorroAv of Portia which hurries us back to the age of AndrO' 
7nache, What a picture, suggested by the contemplation of a 
picture ! O, ye Artists, could you but produce it, Portia would 
in her turn call forth many a tear. 

I could multiply without end proofs of the two powers by 
which we are governed. Enough has been said on the subject 
of a passion the instinct of which is so blind, to evince that we 
are attracted to it, and actuated by it, from Laws widely differ- 
ent from those of digestion. Our affections demonstrate the 
immortality of the soul, because they expand in all the circum- 
stances in which they feel the attributes of Deity, such as that 
of infinity, and never dwell with delight on the Earth, except on 
the attractions of virtue and innocence. 

OF SOME OTHER SENTIMENTS OF DEITV, AND AMONG OTHERS, OF 
THAT OF VIRTUE. 

There are besides these a great number of sentimental Laws, 
which it has not been in my power at present to unfold : such 
are those which suggest presentiments, omens, dreams, the re- 
ference of events fortunate and unfortunate to the same epochs, 
and the like. Their effects are attested among Nations polished 
and savage, by Writers profane and sacred, and by every man who 
pays attention to the Laws of Nature. These communications 
of the soul with an order of things invisible, are rejected bv tho 



STUDY XII. 279 

learned of modem times, because they come not within the pro- 
vince of their systems and of their almanacs ; but how many 
things exist, which are not reducible to the plans of our reason 
and which have not been so much as perceived by it ! 

There are particular laws which demonstrate the immediate 
action of Providence on the Human Race, and which are oppo- 
site to the general Laws of Physics. For example, the princi- 
ples of reason, of passion, and of sentiment, as well as the organs 
of speech and of hearing, are the same in men of all countries ; 
nevertheless the language of Nations differs all the world over. 
How comes it that the art of speech is so various among beings 
who all have the same wants, and that it should be constantly 
changing in the transmission from father to son, to such a de- 
gree that we modem French no longer understand the language 
of the Gauls, and that the day is coming when our posterity 
will be unable to comprehend ours ? The ox of Bengal bellows 
like that of the Ulkraine, and the nightingale pours out the same 
melodious strains to this day, in our climates, as those which 
charmed the ear of the Bard of Mantua by the banks of the Po. 

It is impossible to maintain, though it has been alleged by 
certain Writers of high reputation, that languages are charac- 
terized by climates ; for if they were subjected to influence of 
this kind, they would never vary in any country in which the 
climate is invariable. The language of the Romans was at first 
barbarous, afterwards majestic, and is become at last soft and 
effeminate. They are not rough to the North, and soft to the 
South, as y. y. Rousseau pretends, who in treating this point 
has given far too great extension to physical Laws. The lan- 
guage of the Russias, in the North of Europe, is very soft, be- 
ing a dialect of the Greek ; and the jargon of the southern pro- 
vinces of France is harsh and coarse. The Laplanders, who 
inhabit the shores of the Frozen Ocean, speak a language Avhich 
is very grateful to the ear ; and the Hottentots, who inhabit the 
very temperate climate of the Cape of Good-Hope, cluck lik( 
India cocks. The language of the Indians of Peru is loaded 
with strong aspirations, and consonants of difficult pronuncia- 
tion.* Any one, without going out of his closet, may distin- 

• I do not tliink that this remark is correct. Rut the language of the Mexi 
cans is, indeed, extremely harsh, and pregnant in consonants : much more 
so, than those of many of the tribes in the more northern parts of America, l 



2«0 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

guish the different characters of the language of each Nation, 
by the names presented on the geographical charts of the Coun- 
try, and may satisfy himself that their harshness, or softness, 
has no relation whatever to those of Latitude. 

Other observ'ers have asserted that the languages of Nations 
have been determined and fixed by their great Writers. But 
the great Writers of the age of Augustus did not secure the 
Latin language from corruption, previously to the reign of Mar- 
cus Aurelius. Those of the age of Louis XIV. already begin to 
be antiquated among ourselves- If posterity fixes the character 
of a language to the age which was productive of great Writers, 
it is not because, as they allege, it is then at it's greatest purity ; 
for you find in them as many of those inversions of phraseology, 
of those decompositions of words, and of those embarrassed 
syntaxes, which render the metaphysical study of all Grammar 
tiresome and barbarous ; but it is because the Writings of those 
great men sparkle with maxims of virtue, and present us with a 
thousand perspectives of the Deity. I have no doubt that the 
sublime sentiments which inspire them illuminate them still in 
the order and disposition of their Works, seeing they are the 
sources of all harmony. From this, if I am not mistaken, re- 
sults the unalterable charm which renders the perusal of them 
so delicious, at all times, and to the men of all Nations. Hence 
it is that Plutarch has eclipsed most of the Writers of Greece, 
though he was of the age neither of Pericles^ nor of Alexander ; 
and that the translation of his Works into old French by the 
good Amyot^ will be more generally read by posterity than most 
of the original Works produced even in the age of Louis XIV. 
It is the moral goodness of a period which characterizes a lan- 
guage, and which transmits it unaltered to the generation fol- 

deserves to be mentioned, as a further support of the observations of Saint- 
Pierre, that the harsher and more difficult dialects of North-America were 
found in the southern parts of this Continent. The dialects of the Otomies 
and the CheroJcees, in the south, are destitute of that sweetness which belongs 
to not a few of the more northern dialects. But I do not mean, by these ob- 
servations, to deny, "that languages are charactei'ized by climates." For 
even the -Mexicans, the Otomies, Sec, according to my theor)-, were originally 
from the North ; and it might, with some degree of plausibility, be urged, 
that these nations had not resided sufficiently long in the South to receive 
from climate that influence which it does, in mar.v respects at least, produce 
OB the physical, the moral, and political condition of mankind. — ^B. S. B 



STUDY XII. 281 

lowing. This is the reason that the languages, the customs, 
and even the form of dresses are in Asia transmitted inviolably 
from generation to generation, because fathers, all over that 
Continent, make themselves beloved by their children. But 
these reasons do not explain the diversity of language which 
subsists between one Nation and another. It must ever appear 
to me altogether supernatural, that men who enjoy the same 
elements, and are subjected to the same wants, should not em- 
ploy the same words in expressing them. There is but one 
Sun to illuminate the whole Earth, and he bears a different 
name in every different land. 

I beg leave to suggest a farther effect of a Law to which 
little attention has been paid ; it is this, that there never arises 
any one man eminently distinguished, in whatever line, but 
there appears at the same time, either in his own Countiy, or 
in some neighbouring Nation, an antagonist possessing talents, 
and a reputation, in complete opposition : such were Democri- 
tus and Heraclitus^ Alexander and Diogenes^ Descartes and 
Neivton^ Corneille and Racine^ Bossuet and Fenelon^ Voltaire and 
J. y. Rousseau, I had collected on the subject of the two ex- 
traordinary men last mentioned, who were contemporaries, and 
who died the same year, a great number of strictures, whicli 
demonstrate that through the whole course of life they present- 
ed a striking contrast in respect of talents, of manners, and of 
fortune : but I have relinquished this parallel, in order to devote 
my attention to a pursuit which I deemed much more useful. 

This balancing of illustrious characters will not appear extra- 
ordinary, if we consider that it is a consequence from the ge- 
neral Law of contraries which governs the World, and from 
which all the harmonies of Nature result : it must therefore 
particularly manifest itself in the Human Race, which is the 
centre of the whole ; and it actually does discover itself in the 
wonderful equilibrium, conformably to which the two sexes are 
bom in equal numbers. It does not fix on individuals in par- 
ticular, for we see families consisting wholly of daugliters, and 
others all sons ; but it embraces the aggregate of a whole city 
and of a Nation, the male and female children of which are al- 
ways produced very nearly equal in number. Whatever ine- 
quality of sex there may exist in the variety of births in fami- 

VoL. IL N n ' 



282 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

lies, the equality is constantly restored in the aggi"egate of a 
people. 

But there is another equilibrium no less wonderful, which 
has not I believe become an object of attention. As there are 
a great many men who perish in war, in sea-voyages, and by 
painful and dangerous employments, it would thence follow, that, 
at the long run, the number of women would daily go on in an 
increasing proportion. On the supposition that there perishes 
annually one tenth part more of men than of women, the ba- 
lancing of the sexes must become more and more unequal. 
Social ruin must increase from the very regularity of the natu- 
ral order. This however does not take place ; the two sexes 
are always very nearly equally numerous : their occupations are 
different, but their destiny is the same. The women, who fre- 
quently impel men to engage in hazardous enterprizes to sup- 
port their luxury, or who foment animosities and even kindle 
wars among them to gratify their vanity, are carried off in the 
security of pleasure and indulgence, by maladies to which men 
are not subject ; but which frequently result from the moral, 
physical, and political pains which the men undergo in conse- 
quence of them. Thus the equilibrium of birth between the 
sexes is re-established by the equilibrium of death. 

Nature has multiplied those harmonic contrasts in all her 
Works, relatively to Man ; for the fruits which minister to our 
necessities frequently possess in themselves opposite qualities, 
which serve as a mutual compensation. 

These eflfects, as has been elsewhere demonstrated, are not 
the mechanical results of climate, to the qualities of which they 
are frequently in opposition. All the Works of Nature have 
the wants of Man for their end ; as all the sentiments of Man 
have Deity for their principle. The final intentions of Nature 
have given to Man the knowledge of all her Works, as it is 
the instinct of Deity which has rendered Man superior to the 
Laws of Nature. It is this instinct, which, differently modified 
by the passions, engages the inhabitants of Russia to bathe in 
the ices of the Neva, during the severest cold of Winter, as 
well as the Nations of Bengal in the waters of the Ganges ; 
which, under the same Latitudes, has rendered women slaves in 
die Philippine islands, and despots in the island- of Formosa , 
which makes men effeminate in the Moluccas, and intrepid in 



STUDY XII. 283 

MaCassar ; and which forms, in the inhabitants of one and the 
same city, tjTants, citizens, and slaves. 

The sentiment of Deity is the first mover of the human heart. 
Examine a man in those unforeseen moments, when the secret 
plans of attack and defence with which social man continually 
encloses himself are suppressed, not on the sight of a vast ruin, 
which totally subverts them, but simply on seeing an extraordi- 
nary plant or animal : " Ah, my God !" exclaims he, " how 
*' wonderful this is !" and he invites the first person who happens 
to pass by to partake of his astonishment. His first emotion is 
a transport of delight which raises him to God ; and the second 
a benevolent disposition to communicate his discovery to men ; 
but the social reason quickly recall him to personal interest. 
As soon as he sees a certain number of spectators assembled 
round the object of his curiosity, " It was I," says he, " who 
" observed it first." Then, if he happens to be a scholar, he 
fails not to apply his system to it. By and by he begins to cal- 
culate how much this discovery will bring him in ; he throws in 
some additional circumstances, in order to heighten the appear- 
ance of the marvellous, and he employs the whole credit of his 
junto to put it off, and to persecute every one who presumes to 
differ from him in opinion. Thus every natural sentiment ele- 
vates us to God, till the weight of our passions, and of human 
institutions, brings us back again to self. J. jf. Rousseaii was 
accordingly in the right, when he said that Man was good, but 
that men were wicked. 

It was the instinct of Deity which first assembled men toge- 
ther, and which became the basis of the Religion and of the 
Laws whereby their union was to be cemented. On this it was 
that virtue found a support, in proposing to herself the imita- 
tion of the Divinity, not only by the exercise of the Arts and 
Sciences, which the ancient Greeks for this effect denominated 
the petty virtues ; but in the result of the divine power and in- 
telligence, which is benificence. It consisted in efforts made 
upon ourselves, for the good of Mankind, in the view of pleas- 
ing God only. It gave to Man the sentiment of his own excel- 
lence, by inspiring him with the contempt of terrestrial and tran- 
sient enjoyments, and with a desire after things celestial and 
immortal. It was this sublime attraction which exalted courage 
to the rank of a virtue, and M'hich made Man advance intrepid- 



J84 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

ly to meet death amidst so many anxieties to preserve life. Gal- 
lant d^AssaSy what had you to hope for on the Earth, when you 
poured out your blood in the night without a witness, in the 
plains of Klosterkam, for the salvation of the French army? 
And you, generous Eustace de St. Pierre^ what recompense did 
you expect from your Country, when you appeared before her 
tyrants with the haltar about your neck, ready to meet an infa- 
mous death in saving your fellow-citizens? Of what avail to 
your insensible ashes were the statues and the eulogiums which 
posterity was one day to consecrate to your memory? Could 
you so much as hope for this reward, in return for sacrifices 
either unknown, or loaded with opprobriousness ? Could you 
be flattered in ages to come with the empty homage of a world 
separated from you by eternal barriers? And you, more glori- 
ous still in the sight of God, obscure citizens, who sink inglo- 
riously into the grave ; you, whose virtues draw down upon 
your heads shame, calumny, persecution, poverty, contempt, 
even on the part of those who dispense the honours of a present 
state, could you have forced your way through paths so dreary 
and so rude, had not a light from Heaven illuminated your 
eyes ?* 

* It is impossible for virtue to subsist independently of Religion. I do not 
mean the theaU'ical virtues which attract public admiration, and this, many a 
time, by means so contemptible that they may be rather considered as so 
many vices. The very Pagans have turned them into ridicule. See what 
Jlarciis Atirelms has said on the subject. By viilue I understand the good 
which we do to men without expectation of reward on their pai-t, and fre- 
quently at the expense of fortune, nay even of reputation. Analyze all those 
whose traits have appeared to you the most striking; there is no one of tliem 
but what points out Deity, nearer or more remote. I shall quote one not ge- 
nerally known, and singularly interesting from it's very obscuiity. 

In the last war in Germany a Captain of cavalry was ordered out on a fo- 
raging party. He put liimself at the head of his troop, and marched to the 
quarter assigned him. It was a solitary valley in which hardly any thmg but 
woods coidd be seen. In the midst of it stood a little cottage ; on perceiving 
it he went up, and knocked at the door ; out comes an ancient Hernouten, with 
a beard silvei-ed by age. " Father," says the officer, " shew me a field where I 

" can set my troopers a-fqraging" " Presently," replied the Hernouten. The 

good old man walked before, and conducted them out of the valley. After a 
quarter of an hour's march they found a fine field of bai-ley : " There is the 

" very thing we want," says the Captain " Have patience for a iew mi- 

" nutes," replies his guide, " you shull be satisfied." They went on, and at 
the distance of about a quarter of a. league fai'ther they arrive at another field 



STUDY XII. 285 

This respect for virtue is the source of that which we pay to 
ancient Nobility, and which has introduced, in process of time, 
unjust and odious differences among men, whereas originally, 
it was designed to establish among them respectable distinctions 

of barley. The troop immediately dismounted, cut down the grain, trussed 
it up, and remounted. The officer upon this says to his conductor, " Father, 
" you have given yourself and us unnecessary trouble ; the first field was 

" much better than this." " Very true. Sir," replied the good old man, 

" but it was not mine." 

This stroke goes directly to the heart. I defy an atheist to produce me any 
thing once to be compared with it. It may be px-oper to observe, that the Her- 
noutens arc a species of Quakers, scattered over some cantons of Germany. 
Certain Theologians have maintained that heretics wei-e incapable of vii'tue, 
and that their good actions were utterly destitute of merit. As I am no The- 
ologian I shall not engage in this metaphysical discussion, though I might 
oppose to their opinion the sentiments of St. Jerome, and even those of St. 
Peter, with respect to Pagans, when he says to Cornelius the centurion : " Of a 
" truth, I perceive that God is no respecter of persons ; but in every Nation, 
" he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted witli him."t 
But I should be glad to know what those Theologians think of the charity of 
the good Samaritan, who was a schismatic. Surely they will not venture to 
start objections against a decision pronounced by Jesus Christ himself As 
the simplicity and depth of his divine responses form an admirable constrast 
with tlie dishonesty and subtilty of modern doctors, I shall transcribe the 
whole passage from the Gospel, word for word. 

" And behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying. Master, 
" whatshidl I do to inherit eternal life I 

" He said unto him. What is written in the law ? how readest thou ? 

" And he answering, said, Thou shalt love the Lo.vD thy God with all thy 
" heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy 
" mind ; and thy neighbour as thyself. 

" And he said unto him. Thou hast answered right : this do, and thou 
" shalt live. 

" But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neigh 
" hour ? 

" And Jesus answering, said, A certain man went do\vn from Jerusalem to 
" Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and 
" wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 

" And by chance tliere came down a certain priest tliat way ; and when he 
" saw him, he passed by on the other side. 

" And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked ow 
" him, and passed by on the other side. 

" But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was ; and when 
" he saw liim, he had compassion on him. 

" And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and 
" set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of liini 

t Acta of the Apostles, chap. x. ver. 34, 55. 



286 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

alone. The Asiatics, more equitable, attached nobility only to 
places rendered illustrious by virtue. An aged tree, a well, a 
rock, objects of stability, appeared to them as alone adapted to 
perpetuate the memory of what was worthy of being remem- 
bered. There is not all over Asia an acre of land but what is 
dignified by a monument. The Greeks and Romans who is- 
sued out of it, as did all the other Nations of the World, and 
who did not remove far from it, imitated in part the customs of 
our first Fathers. But the other Nations which scattered them- 
selves over the rest of Europe, where they were long in an erra- 
tic state, and who withdrew from those ancient monuments of 
virtue, chose rather to look for them in the posterity of their 
great men, and to see the living images of them in their chil- 
dren. This is the reason, in my opinion, that the Asiatics have 
no Noblesse, and the Europeans no monuments. 

The instinct of Deity constitutes the charm of the perform- 
ances which we peruse with most delight. The Writers to 
whom we always return with pleasure, are not the most spright- 

" And on the morrow, when he departed, he took out two pence and gave 
" tliem to tlie host, and said unto him, Take care of him : and whatsoever 
" thou spendcst more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 

" Which now of these three, tiiinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that 
" fell among tlie thieves ? 

" And he said. He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto 
" him, Go, and do thou likewise."-t- 

I sliall be carefully on my guard against adding any reflections of my own 
on this subject, except this simple observation, that the action of the Sama- 
ritan is far superior to that of the Hernouten ; for though the second makes 
a great sacrifice, he is in some sort determined to it by force ; a field must of 
necessity have been subjected to forage. But the Samaritan entu'ely obey."? 
the impulse of humanity. His action is free, and his charity spontaneous. 
This stricture, like all tliosc of the Gospel, contains in a few words a multi- 
tude of clear and forcible instructions, respecting the duties inculcated in the 
second table of the Law. It would be impossible to replace them by others, 
were imagination itself permitted to dictate them. Weigh all the circum- 
stances of the restless and persevering charity of the Samaritan. He dresses 
the wounds of an unfortunate wretch, and places him on his own horse ; he ex- 
poses his own life to danger, by stopping, and walking on foot, in a place 
frequented by thieves. He aftei-wards makes provision, in the inn, for the 
future as well as for the present necessities of the unhappy man, and con- 
tinues his journey without expecting any recompense whatever from the gra- 
tiindc of the person whom he had succoured. 

t Luke, chap. x. vcr. 25 — 37- 



STUDY XII. 287 

ly, that is, those who abound the most in the social reason which 
endures but for a moment, but those who render the action of 
Providence continually present to us. Hence it is that Homer ^ 
Virgil^ Xenophon^ Plutarch^ Fenelon^ and most of the ancient 
Writers, are immortal, and please the men of all Nations. For 
the same reason it is, that books of travels, though for the most 
part written very artlessly, and though decried by multitudes 
of various orders in Society, who discern in them an indirect 
censure of their own conduct, are nevertheless the most inter- 
esting part of modern reading ; not only because they disclose 
to us some new benefits of Nature, in the fruits and the animals 
of foreign countries, but because of the dangers by land and by 
water which their authors have escaped, frequently beyond all 
reasonable expectation. Finally, it is because the greatest part 
of our very learned productions studiously steer clear of this 
natural sentiment, that the perusal of them is so very dry and 
disgusting, and that posterity will prefer Herodotus to David 
Humcy and the Mythology of the Greeks to all. our treatises on 
Physics ; because we love still more to hear the fictions of Deity 
blended with the History of men, than to reason of men in th* 
History of Deity. 

This sublime sentiment inspires Man with a taste for the 
marvellous, who, from his natural weakness, must have evei 
been crawling on the ground of which he is formed. It balan- 
ces in him the sentiment of his misery, which attaches him tr 
the pleasures of habit ; and it exalts his soul, by infusing intc 
him continually the desire of novelty. It is the harmony of hu- 
man life, and the source of every thing delicious and enchant 
ing that we meet with in the progress of it. With this it i? 
that the illusions of love ever veil themselves, always represent- 
ing the beloved object as something divine. It is this whici; 
opens to ambition perspectives without end. A peasant appears 
desirous of nothing in the World but to become the churchwar 
den of his village. Be not deceived in the man ! open to him 
a career without any impediment in his way ; he is groom, \\( 
becomes highway-man, captain of the gang, a commander in 
chief of armies, a king, and never rests till he is worshipped as 
a God. He shall be a Tajnerlane or a Mahomet. 

An old rich tradesman, nailed to his easy-chair by the gout, 
tells us that he has no higher ambition than to die in peace. 



288 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

But he sees himself eternally renovating in his posterity. He 
enjoys a secret delight in beholding them mount, by the dint of 
his money, along all the ascending steps of dignity and honour. 
He himself reflects not that the moment approaches when he 
shall have nothing in common with that posterity, and that 
while he is congratulating himself on being the source of their 
future glory, they are already employing the upstart glory 
which they have acquired, in drawing a veil over the meanness 
of their original. The Athiest himself, with his negative wis- 
dom, is carried along by the same impulse. To no purpose 
docs he demonstrate to himself the nothingness, and the fluctua- 
tion of all things : his reason is at variance with his heart. He 
flatters himself inwardly with the hope that his book, or his mo- 
nument, will one day attract the homage of posterity; or per- 
haps that the book, or the tomb, of his adversary will cease to be 
honoured. He mistakes the Deity, merely because he puts 
himself in his place. 

With the sentiment of Deity, every thing is great, noble 
beautiful, invincible, in the most contracted sphere of human 
life ; without it, all is feeble, displeasing, and bitter, in the very 
lap of greatness. This it was which conferred empire on Rome 
and Sparta, by shewing to their poor and virtuous inhabitants 
the Gods as their protectors and fellow-citizens. It was the 
destruction of this sentiment which gave them up, when rich 
and vicious, to slavery ; when they no longer saw in the Uni- 
verse any other Gods except gold and pleasure. To no pur- 
pose does a man make a bulwark around himself of the gifts of 
fortune ; the moment this sentiment is excluded from his heart, 
languor takes possession of it. If it's absence is prolonged, he 
sinks into sadness, afterwards into profound and settled melan- 
choly, and finally into despair. If this state of anxiety becomes 
permanent, he lays violent hands on himself. Man is the only 
sensible being which destroys itself in a state of liberty. Hu- 
man life, with all it's pomp, and all it's delights, ceases to him to 
have the appearance of life, when it ceases to appear to him 
immortal and divine.* 

* Plutarch remarks, that Alexander did not abandon himself to those ex- 
cesses which sulUed the conclusion of his glorious career, till he believed 
himself to be forsaken of the Gods. Not only does this sentiment become a 
source of misery, when it separates itself from our pleasures ; but when. 



STUDY XII. 289 

Whatever be the disorders of societ}% this celestial instinct 
is ever amusing itself with the children of men. It inspires the 
man of genius, by disclosing itself to him under eternal attri- 
butes. It presents to the Geometrician, the ineffable progres- 
sions of infinity ; to the Musician, rapturous harmonies ; to the 
Historian, the immortal shades of virtuous men. It raises a 
Parnassus for the Poet, and an Olympus for the Hero. It sheds 
a lustre on the unfortunate days of the labouring poor. Amidst 
the luxury of Paris, it extracts a sigh from the breast of the 
humble native of Savoy after the sacred covering of the snows 
upon his mountains. It expatiates along the vast Ocean, and re- 
cals, from the gentle climates of India, the European mariner, 
to the stormy shores of the West. It bestows a country on the 
wretched, and fills with regret those who have lost nothing. It 
covers our cradles with the charms of innocence, and the tombs 
of our forefathers with the hopes of immortality. It reposes 
in the midst of tumultuous cities, on the palaces of mighty 
Kings, and on the august temples of Religion. It frequently 
fixes it's residence in the desert, and attracts the attention of 
the Universe to a rock. Thus it is that you are clothed with 

from the effect of our passions, or of our institutions, which pervert the Laws 
of Nature, it presses upon our miseries themselves. Thus, for example, 
when after having given mechanical Laws to the operations of the soul, we 
come to make the sentiment of infinity to bear upon our physical and tran- 
sient evils ; in this case, by a just re-action, our misery becomes insupport- 
able. I have presented only a faint sketch of the two principles in Man ; but 
to whatever sensation of pain, or of pleasui-c, they may be applied, tlie dif- 
ference of their nature, and their perpetual rc-action, will be felt. 

On the subject of Alexander forsaken of the Gods, it is matter of surprise 
to me that the expression of this situation should not have inspired the ge- 
nius of some Grecian Artist. Here is what 1 find on this subject in Addison .- 
*' There is in the same galleiy, (at Florence) a fine bust of Alexander the 
" Great, with the face turned toward Heaven, and impressed with a certain 
'' dignified air of chagrin and dissatisfaction. I have seen two or three an- 
** cient busts of Alcxcmdcr, with the same air, and in the same attitude ; and 
" I am disposed to believe that the Sculptor pursued the idea of the Conquer- 
" or sighing after new worlds, or some similar circumstance of his History." 
Jlddiso7i's Voyage to Italy. I imagine that the circumstance oi Alexander's 
History, to wliich those busts ought to be referred, is that which represents 
him complaining of being abandoned of the Gods. I have no doubt that it 
would have fixed the exquisite judgment of .4(/(/tso?»j had he recollected th'' 
observation made by Phiturch. 

Vol. II. O o 



290 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

majesty, venerable ruins of Greece and Rome ! and you too, 
mysterious pyramids of Egypt ! This is the object which wc 
are invariably pursuing amidst all our restless occupations ; but 
the moment it discovers itself to us in some unexpected act of 
virtue, or in some one of those events which may be denomi- 
nated strokes of Heaven, or in some of those indescribably sub- 
lime emotions, which are called sentimental touches by way of 
excellence, it's first effect is to kindle in the breast a very ardent 
movement of joy, and the second is to melt us into tears. The 
soul, struck with this divine light, exults at once in enjoying a 
glimpse of the heavenly country, and sinks at the thought of 
being exiled from it. 

Oculis errantibus alto 

Qu3esivit coelo lucem, inijemuitque repprta. 

^neid, Book l\ 

With wandering- eyes explor'd the heavenly light. 
Then aigh'd, and sunk into the shades of night. 



STUDY XIII. 

APi»LICATION OF THE LAWS OF NATURE TO THE DISORDERS OF 

SOCIETY. 

I HAVE exposed, in this Work, the errors of human opi- 
nion, and the mischief which has resulted from them, as affect- 
ing morals and social felicitj^. I have refuted those opinions, 
and have ventured to call in question even the methods of hu- 
man Science ; I have investigated certain Laws of Nature, and 
have made, I am bold to affirm, a happy application of them to 
the vegetable order : but all this mighty exertion would, in my 
own opinion, prove to be vain and unprofitable, unless I employ- 
ed it in attempting to discover some remedies for the disorders 
of Society. 

A Prussian Author, who has lately favoured the World with 
various productions, carefully avoids saying a word respecting 
the administration of the government of his own Country, be- 
cause, being only a passenger as he alleges in the vessel of the 
State, he does not consider himself as wan-anted to intermeddle 
with the pilot's province. This thought, like so many others 
borrowed from books, is a mere effusion of wit. It resembles 
that of the man, who, seeing a house on the point of being seiz- 
ed with the flames, scampered off without making any attempt 
to save it, because, forsooth, the house was not his. For my 
own part, I think myself so much the more obliged to take an 
interest in the vessel of the State, that I am a passenger on 
board, and thereby bound to contribute my efforts toward her 
prosperous navigation. Nay, I ought to employ my very lei- 
sure, as a passenger, to admonish the steersman of any iiregu- 
larity, or neglect, which I may have perceived in conducting 
the business of the ship. Such, to my apprehension, are the 
examples set us by a Montesquieu^ a Fenelon^ and so many other 
names, to be held in everlasting respect, who have in every coun- 
try consecrated their labours to the good of their compatriots. 
The only thing that can be with justice objected to me, is my 
insufficiency. But I have seen much injustice committed ; I 
myself have been the victim of it. Images of disorder have 



ii92 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

suggested to me ideas of order. Besides, my errors may per- 
haps serve as a foil to the wisdom of those who shall detect 
them. Were I but to present one single useful idea to my So- 
vereign, whose bounty has hitherto supported me, though my 
services remain unrewarded, I shall have received the most 
precious recompense that my heart can desire : if I am encou- 
raged to flatter myself with the thought that I have wiped away 
the tears from the eyes of but one unfortunate fellow-creature, 
such a reflection would wipe away mine own in my dying mo- 
ments. 

The men who can turn the distresses of their Country to their 
own private emolument, will reproach me with being its enemy, 
in the hacknied observation, that things have always been so, 
and that all goes on very well, because all goes on well for them. 
But the persons who discover, and who unveil, the evils under 
which their Country labours, they are not the enemies which she 
has to fear ; the persons who flatter her, they are her real ene- 
mies. The Writers assuredly, such as Horace and Juvenaly 
who predicted to Rome her downfal, when at the very height 
of her elevation, were much more sincerely attached to her pros- 
perity, than those who offered incense to her tyrants, and made 
a gain of her calamities. How long did the Roman Empire 
sur\'ive the salutary warnings of the first? Even the good 
Princes who afterwards assumed the government of it, were in- 
capable of replacing it on a solid foundation, because they were 
imposed upon by their contemporary Writers, who never had 
the courage to attack the moral and political causes of the gene- 
ral corruption. They satisfied themselves with their own per- 
sonal reformation, without daring to extend it so much as to 
their families. Thus it was that a Titus and a Marcus Aurelius. 
reigned. They were only great Philosophers on the throne. 
As far as I am concerned, I should believe that I had already 
deserved well of my Country, had I only announced in her ear 
this awful truth : That she contains in her bosom more than 
seven millions of poor, and that their number has been proceed- 
ing in an increasing proportion from year to year, ever since the 
age of Louis XIV. 

God forbid that I should wish or attempt to disturb, much 
less destroy, the different orders of the State. I would only 
wish to bring them back to the spirit of their natural Institution. 



STUDY XIII. 293 

Would to God that the Clergy would endeavour to merit, by 
their virtues, the first place, which has been granted to the sa- 
credness of their functions j that the Nobility would give their 
protection to the citizens, and render themselves formidable only 
to the enemies of the people ; that the admmistrators of finance, 
directing the treasures of the Public to flow in the channels of 
agriculture and commerce, would lay open to merit the road 
which leads to all useful and honourable employment ; that every 
woman, exempted by the feebleness of her constitution from 
most of the burthens of Society, would occupy herself in fulfil- 
ling the duties of her gentle destination, those of wife and mo- 
ther, and thus cementing the felicity of one family ; that, invest- 
ed with grace and beauty, she would consider herself as one 
flower in that wreath of delight by which Nature has attached 
Man to life : and while she proved a joy and a crown to her 
husband in particular, the complete chain of her sex might in- 
dissolubly compact all the other bonds of national felicity ! 

It is not my aim to attract the applause of the million j they 
will not read my Book ; besides, they are already sold to the 
rich and the powerful. They are continually, I grant, malign- 
ing their purchasers, and even frequently applaud the persons 
who treat them with some degree of firmness ; but they give 
such persons up, the moment they are discovered to be objects 
of hatred to the rich ; for they tremble at the frown of the great, 
or crawl among their feet on receiving the slightest token of be- 
nevolence. By the million I understand not only the lowest 
order in Society, but a great number of others who consider 
themselves as very far above it. 

The people is no idol of mine. If the powers which govern 
them are corrupted they themselves are the cause of it. We 
exclaim against the reigns of Nero and Caligula; but those de- 
testable Princes were the fruit of the age in which they lived, 
just as bad vegetable fruits are produced by bad trees : they 
would not have been tyrants, had they not found among the Ro- 
mans, informers, spies, parasites, poisoners, prostitutes, hang- 
men, and flatterers, who told them that every thing went on ver}' 
well. I do not believe virtue to be the allotment of the people, 
but I consider it as portioned out among all conditions in life, 
and in very small quantities, among the little, among the mid- 
dling, and among the great ; and so necessary to the support of 



294 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

all the orders of Society, that were it entirely destroyed, Coun- 
try would crumble to pieces like a temple whose pillars had 
been undermined. 

But I am not particularly interested in the people, either from 
the hope of their applause, or respect to their virtues, but from 
the labours in which they are employed. From the people it is 
that the greatest part of my pleasures and of my distresses pro- 
ceed ; by the people I am fed, clothed, lodged, and they are 
frequently employed in procuring superfluities for me, while 
necessaries are sometimes wanting to themselves ; from them 
likewise issue epidemic diseases, robberies, seditions ; and did 
they present nothing to me but simply the spectacle of their 
happiness or misery, I could not remain in a state of indiffer- 
ence. Their joy involuntarily inspires me with joy, and their 
misery wrings my heart. I do not reckon my obligation to 
them acquitted when I have paid them a pecuniary considera- 
tion for their services. It is a maxim of the hard-hearted rich 
man, " That artisan and I are quit," says he, " I have paid him." 
The money which I give to a poor fellow for a service which he 
has rendered me, creates nothing new for his use ; that money 
would equally circulate, and perhaps more advantageously for 
him, had I never existed. The people supports therefore with- 
out any return on my part, the weight of my existence : it is 
still much worse when they are loaded with the additional bur- 
then of my irregularities. To them I stand accountable for my 
vices and my virtues, more than to the magistrate. If I de- 
prive a poor workman of part of his subsistence, I force him, in 
order to make up the deficiency, to become a beggar or a thief; 
if I seduce a plebeian young woman, I rob that order of a vir- 
tuous matron ; if I manifest in their eyes a disregard to Reli- 
gion, I enfeeble the hope which sustains them under the pres- 
sure of their labours. Besides, Religion lays me under an 
express injunction to love them. When she commands me to 
love men, it is the people she recommends to me, and not 
the Great : to them she attaches all the powers of Society, which 
exist only by them, and for them. Of a far different spirit from 
that of modern politicks, which present Nations to Kings as 
their domains, she presents Kings to Nations as their fathers 
and defenders. The people were not made for Kings, but Kings 
for the people. I am bound, therefore, I who am nothing, and 



STUDY XIII. 295 

who can do nothing, to contribute my warmest wishes at least 
toward their felicity. 

Farther, I feel myself constrained, in justice to the commo- 
nalty of our own Country, to declare that I know none in Eu- 
rope superior to them in point of generosity, though, liberty 
excepted, they are the most miserable of all with whom I have 
had an opportunity to be acquainted. Did time permit I could 
produce instances innumerable of their beneficence. Our wits 
frequently trace caricatures of our fish-women, and of our pea- 
santry, because their only object is to amuse the rich ; but they 
might receive sublime lessons of virtue, did they know how to 
study the virtues of the common people : for my own part, I 
have oftener than once found ingots of gold on a dunghill. 

I have remarked, for example, that many of our inferior 
shop-keepers sell their wares at a lower price to the poor man 
than to the rich ; and when I asked the reason, the reply was, 
" Sir, every body must live." I have likewise observed that a 
great many of the lower order never haggle, when they are buy- 
ing from poor people like themselves : " Every one," say they, 
" must live by his trade." I saw a little child one day buying 
greens from the herb-woman : she filled a large apron with the 
articles which he wanted, and took a penny : on my expressing 
surprize at the quantity she had given him, she said to me, " I 
*' would not. Sir, have given so much to a grown person ; but I 
" would not for the world take advantage of a child," I kne^v 
a man of the name of Christal^ in the rue de la Magdelaine^ whose 
trade was to go about selling Auvergne-waters, and who sup- 
ported for five months, gratis^ an upholsterer of whom he had 
no knowledge, and whom a law-suit had brought to Paris, be- 
cause, as he told me, that poor upholsterer, the whole length of 
the road, in a public carriage, had from time to time given an arm 
to his sick wife. That same man had a son eighteen years old, 
a paralytic and changeling from the womb, whom he maintain- 
ed with the tenderest attachment, without once consenting to 
his admission into the Hospital of incurables, though frequently 
solicited to that effect by persons who had interest sufficient to 
procure it ; " God," said he to me, " has given me the poor 
*' youth ; it is my duty to take care of him." I have no doubt 
that he still continues to support him, though he is under the 



296 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

necessity of feeding him with his own hands, and has the far- 
ther charge of a frequently ailing wife. 

I once stopped, with admiration, to contemplate a poor men- 
dicant seated on a post in the rue Bergere^ near the Boulevards. 
A great many well-dressed people passed by without giving hira 
any thing ; but there were very few servant-girls, or women 
loaded with baskets, who did not stop to bestow their charity. 
He wore a well powdered peruque, with his hat under his arm, 
was dressed in a surtout, his linen white and clean, and every 
article so trim, that you would have thought these poor people 
were receiving alms from him, and not giving them. It is im- 
possible assuredly to refer this sentiment of generosity in the 
common people to any secret suggestion of self-interest, as the 
enemies of mankind allege in taking upon them to explain the 
causes of compassion. No one of those poor benefactresses 
thought of putting herself in the place of the unfortunate men- 
dicant, who, it was said, had been a watchmaker, and had lost 
his eye-sight ; but they were moved by that sublime instinct 
which interests us more in the distresses of the Great, than in 
those of other men; because we estimate the magnitude of 
their sufferings by the standard of their elevation, and of the 
fall from it. A blind watchmaker was a Belisarius in the eyes' 
of servant-maids. 

I should never have done, were I to indulge myself in de- 
tailing anecdotes of this sort. They would be found worthy of 
the admiration of the rich, were they extracted from the Histo- 
ry of the Savages, or from that of the Roman Emperors ; were 
they two thousand years old, or had they taken place two thou- 
sand leagues off. They would amuse their imagination, and 
tranquillize their avarice. Our own commonalty undoubtedly 
%vell deserves to be loved. I am able to demonstrate, that 
their moral goodness is the firmest support of government, and 
that, notwithstanding their own necessities, to them our soldiery 
is indebted for the supplement to their miserable pittance of 
pay, and that to them the innumerable poor with whom the 
kingdom swarms, owe a subsistence wrung from penury itself. 

Salus populi suprema Lex esto, said the Ancients: let 
the safety of the People be the paramount Law, because their 
misery is the general misery. This axiom ought to be so much 
the more sacred in the eyes of Legislators and Reformers, that 



STUDY XIII. 297 

no Law can be of long duration, and no plan of reform reduced 
into effect, unless the happiness of the people is previously se- 
cured. Out of their miseries abuses spring, are kept up, and 
are renewed. It is from want of having reared the fabric on 
this sure foundation, that so many illustrious Reformers have 
seen their political edifice crumble into ruins. If Agis and 
Cleomenes failed in their attempts to reform Sparta, it was be- 
cause the wretched Helots observed with indifference a system 
of happiness which extended not to them. If China has been 
conquered by the Tartars, it was because the discontented Chi- 
nese were groaning under the tyranny of their Mandarins, while 
the Sovereign knew nothing of the mutter. If Poland has, in 
our own days, been parcelled out by her neighbours, it was be- 
cause her enslaved peasantry, and her reduced gentry, did not 
stand up in her defence. If so many efforts towards reform, on 
the subject of the clergy, of the army, of finance, of our courts 
of justice, of commerce, of concubinage, have proved abortive 
with us, it is because the misery of the people is continually re- 
producing the same abuses. 

I have not seen, in the whole course of my travels, a country 
more flourishing than Holland. The capital is computed to con- 
tain at least a hundred and fourscore thousand inhabitants. An 
immense commerce presents in that city a thousand objects of 
temptation, yet you never hear of a robbery committed. They 
do not even employ soldiers for mounting guard. I was there 
in 1762, and for eleven years pi'evious to that period no person 
had been punished capitally. The Laws howev r are very se- 
vere in that Country ; but the people who possess the means of 
easily earning a livelihood, are under no temptation to infringe 
them. It is farther worthy of remark, that though they have 
gained millions by printing all our extravagances in morals, in 
politics, and in religion, neither their opinions nor their moral 
conduct have been affected by it, because the people are con- 
tented with their condition. Crimes spring up only from the 
extremes of indigence and opulence. 

When I was at Moscow, an aged Genevois who had lived 
in that city from the da^ of Peter I. informed me, that from 
the time they had opened to the people various channels of sub- 
sistence, by the establishment of manufactures and commerce, 
seditions, assassinations, robberies, and wilful fires, had become 

Vol. II. Pp 



298 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

much less frequent than they used to be. Had there not been at 
Rome multitudes of miserable wretches, no Catiline would have 
started up there. The police, I admit, prevents at Paris very 
alarming irregularities. Nay it may be with truth affirmed, that 
fewer crimes are committed in that capital, than in the other 
cities of the kingdom in proportion to their population ; but the 
tranquillity of the common people in Paris is to be accounted 
for, from their finding there readier means of subsistence, than 
in the other cities of the kingdom, because the rich of all the 
provinces fix their residence in the metropolis. After all, the 
expense of our police, in guards, in spies, in houses of correc- 
tion, and in goals, is a burthen to that very people, and be- 
comes an expense of punishments, when they might be trans- 
formed into benefits. Besides, these methods are repercussions 
merely, whereby the people are thrown into concealed irregu- 
larities, which are not the least dangerous. 

The first step toward relieving the indigence of the common- 
alty, is to diminish the excessive opulence of the rich. It is not 
by them that the people live, as modern politicians pretend. To 
no purpose do they institute calculations of the riches of a State, 
the mass of them is undoubtedly limited ; and if it is entirely 
in the possession of a small number of the citizens, it is no 
longer in the service of the multitude. As they always see in 
detail men for whom they care very little, and in overgrown 
capitals, money which they love very much, they infer it to be 
more advantageous for the kingdom, that a revenue of a hun- 
dred thousand crowns should be in the possession of a single 
person, rather than portioned out among a hundred families, 
because, say they, the proprietors of large capitals engage in 
great enterprizes. But here they fall into a most pernicious er- 
ror. The financier who possesses them only maintains a fev. 
footmen more, and extends the rest of his superfluity to object 
of luxury and corruption : moreover, every one being at libei - 
ty to enjoy in his ov.n way, if he happens to be a miser, this 
money is altogether lost to Society. But a hundred families of 
respectable citizens could live comffcggbly on the same revenue. 
They will rear a numerous progen)«pi will furnish the means 
of living to a multitude of other famp^s of the commonalty, by 
arts that are really useful, and favourable to good morals. 



STUDY XIII. 299 

It would be necessar)-, therefore, in order to check unbound- 
ed opulence, without however doing injustice to the rich, to put 
an end to the venality of employments, which confers them all on 
that portion of Society which needs them the least as the means 
of subsistence, for it gives them to those who have got money. 
It would be necessary to abolish pluralities, by which two, 
three, four, or more offices, are accumulated on the head of 
one person ; as well as reversions, which perpetuate them in the 
same families. This abolition would undoubtedly destroy that 
monied aristocracy, which is extending farther and farther in 
the bosom of the monarchy, and which, by interposing an insur- 
mountable barrier between the Prince and his subjects, becomes 
in process of time the most dangerous of all governments. The 
dignity of employments would thereby be greatly enhanced, as 
they must in this case rise in estimation, being considered as 
the reward of merit, and not the purchase of money ; that re- 
spect for gold, which has corrupted every moral principle, 
would be diminished, and that which is due to virtue would be 
heightened : the career of public honour would be laid open to 
all the orders of the State, which, for more than a century past, 
has been the patrimony of from four to five thousand families, 
which have transmitted all the great offices from hand to hand, 
without communicating any share of them to the rest of the ci- 
tizens, except in proportion as they cease to be such, that is, in 
proportion as they sell to them their liberty, their honour, and 
their conscience. 

Our Princes have been taught to believe, that it was safer 
for them to trust to the purses, than to the probity of their sub- 
jects. Here we have the origin of venality in the civil state ; 
but this sophism falls to the ground the moment we reflect that 
it subsists not in either the ecclesiastical or military order ; and 
that these great bodies still are, as to the individuals which 
compose them, the best ordered of any in the State, at least 
with relation to their police, and to their particular interests. 

The Court employs frequent change of fashions, in order to 
enable the poor to live on the superfluity of the rich. This 
palliative is so far good, though subject to dangerous abuse : it 
ought at least to be converted, to its full extent, to the profit oi 
the poor, hv a prohibition of the introduction of ever}^ article 



300 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

of foreign luxury into France ; for it would be very inhuman 
in the rich, who engross all the money in the Nation, to send 
out of it immense sums annually, to the Indies and to China, 
for the purchase of muslins, silks, and porcelains, which are all 
to be had within the kingdom. The trade to India and China 
is necessary only to Nations which have neither mulberry-trees 
nor silk worms, as the English and Dutch. They too may in- 
dulge themselves in the use of tea, because their country pro- 
duces no wine. But every piece of callico we import from Ben- 
gal, prevents an inhabitant of our own islands from cultivating 
the plant which would have furnished the raw material, and a 
family in France from spinning and weavmg it into cloth. There 
is another political and moral obligation which ought to be en- 
forced, that of giving back to the female sex the occupations 
which properly belong to them, such as midwifery, millinery, 
the employments of the needle, linen-drapery, trimming, and 
the like, which require only taste and address, and are adapted 
to a sedentary way of life, in order to rescue great numbers of 
them from idleness, and from prostitution, in which so many 
seek the means of supporting a miserable existence. 

Again, a vast channel of subsistence to the people might be 
opened by suppressing the exclusive privileges of commercial 
and manufacturing companies. These companies, we are told, 
provide a livelihood for a whole country. Their establishments, 
I admit, on the first glance, present an imposing appearance, 
especially in rural situations. They display great avenues of 
trees, vast edifices, courts within courts, palaces ; but while the 
undertakers are riding in their coaches, the rest of the village 
are walking in wooden shoes. I never beheld a peasantry more 
wretched than in villages where privileged manufacturers are 
established. Such exclusive privileges contribute more than 
is generally imagined to check the industry of a country. I 
shall quote, on this occasion, the remark of an anonymous Eng- 
lish Author, highly respectable for the soundness of his judg- 
ment, and for the strictness of his impartiality. " I passed," 

says he, " through Montreuil, Abbeville, Pequig-ni The se- 

" cond of these cities has likewise it's castle : it's indigent in- 
" habitants gi-eatly cry up their broad-cloth manufacture : but 



STUDY XIII. 301 

" it is less considerable than those of many villages of the coun- 
"ty of York."* 

I could likewise oppose to the woollen manufactures of the 
villages ot the county of York, those of handkerchiefs, cotton- 
stuffs, woollens, of the villages of the Pais de Caux, which are 
there in a very flourishing state, and where the peasantry are 
very rich, because there are no exclusive privileges in that part 
of the country. The privileged undertaker having no compe- 
titor in a country, settles the workman's wages at his own plea- 
sure. They have a thousand devices besides to reduce the 
price of labour as low as it can go. They give them, for ex- 
ample, a trifle of money in advance, and having thereby in- 
veigled them into a state of insolvency, which may be done by 
a loan of a few crowns, they have them thenceforward at their 
mercy. I know a considerable branch of the salt-water fishery 
almost totally destroyed, in one of our sea-ports, by means of 
this underhand species of monopoly. The tradesmen of that 
town, at first, bought the fish of the fishermen, to cure it for 
sale. They afterwards were at the expense of building ves- 
sels proper for the trade : they proceeded next to advance money 
to the fishermens' wives, during the absence of their husbands. 
These were reduced, on their return to the necessity of becom- 
ing hired servants to the merchant, in order to discharge the 
debt. The merchant having thus become master of the boats^ 
of the fishermen, and of the commodity, regulated the condi- 
tions of the trade j ust as he pleased. Most of the fishermen, 
disheartened by the smallness of their profits, quitted the em- 
ployment ; and the fishery, which was formerl)'^ a mine of wealth 
to the place, is now dwindled to almost nothing. 

On the other hand, if I object to a monopoly which would 
engross the means of subsistence bestowed by Nature on every 
order of Society, and on botli sexes, much less would I consent 
to a monopoly that should grasp at those which she has assigned 
to every man in particular. For example, the Author of a book, 
of a machine, or of any invention, whether useful or agreeable, 
to which a man has devoted his time, his attention, in a word 
his genius, ought to be at least as well secured in a perpetual 

• Voy«pe to France, Ituly, and the Islands of the Archipelag'o, in 1750 
Four sjfnitll volumes in 12m o 



302 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

right over those who sell his book, or avail themselves of his In- 
vention, as a feudal Lord is to exact the rights of fines of alien- 
ation, from persons who build on his grounds, and even from 
those who re-sell the property of such houses. This claim would 
appear to me still better founded on the natural right, than that 
of fines of alienation. If the Public suddenly lays hold of a use- 
ful invention, the State becomes bound to indemnify the Author 
of it, to prevent the glory of his discovery from proving a pe- 
cuniary detriment to him. Did a law so equitable exist, we 
should not see a score of booksellers wallowing in affluence at 
the expense of an Author who did not know, sometimes, where 
to find a dinner. We should not have seen, for instance, in our 
own days, the posterity of Corneillc and of La Fontaine reduced 
to subsist on alms, while the booksellers of Paris have been 
building palaces out of the sale of their Works. 

Immense landed property is still more injurious than that of 
money and of employments, because it deprives the other citi- 
zens, at once, of the social and of the natural patriotism. Be- 
sides, it comes in process of time into the possession of those who 
have the employments and the money ; it reduces all the subjects 
of the State to dependence upon them, and leaves them no re- 
source for subsistence but the cruel alternative of degrading 
themselves by a base flattery of the passions of those who have 
got all the power and wealth in their hands, or of going into 
exile. These three causes combined, the last especially, pre- 
cipitated the ruin of the Roman Empire, from the reign of Tra- 
jan^ as Plirnj has very justly remarked. They have already 
banished from France more subjects than the revocation of the 
edict of Nantes. When I was in Prussia, in the year 1 765, of 
the hundred and fifty thousand regular troops which the King 
then maintained, a full third was computed to consist of French 
deserters. I by no means consider that number as exaggerated, 
for I myself remarked, that all the soldiers on guard, wherever 
I passed, wei-e composed, to a third at least, of Frenchmen ; 
and such guards are to be found at the gates of all the cities, 
and in all the villages on the great road, especially toward the 
frontier. 

When I was in the Russian service, they reckoned near three 
thousand teachers of language of our nation in the cit)' of Mos- 
cow, among whom I knew a great many persons of respectable 



STUDY XIII. 303 

families, advocates, young ecclesiastics, gentlemen, and even of- 
ficers. Germany is filled with our wretched compatriots. In 
the Courts of the South and of the North, what is to be seen but 
French dancers and comedians ? This we have in common at 
this day with the Italians, and this we had in common with the 
Greeks of the lower empire. In order to find the means of 
subsistence, we hunt after a country different from that to which 
we owe our birth. We do not find the other nations of Europe 
in this erratic state, except the Swiss, who trade in the human 
species, but who all return home after having made their for- 
tune. Our compatriots never return ; because the precarious 
employments which they pursue do not admit of their amassing 
the means of a reputable subsistence, one day, in their native 
country. 

Men of letters who were never out of their countrj-, or who 
reflect superficially, are constantly exclaiming against the revo- 
cation of the Edict of Nantes. But if they imagine that the 
restoration of that Edict would bring back to France the pos- 
terity of the French Refugees, they are greatly mistaken. Those 
surely who are rich, and comfortably settled in foreign coun- 
tries, will never think of resigning their establishments, and of 
returning to the country of their fathers : none but poor Protes- 
tants therefore would come back. But what should they do 
there, when so many national Catholics are under the necessity 
of emigrating for want of subsistence ? I have been oftener than 
once astonished at hearing our pretended politicians loudly re- 
demanding so many citizens to religion, while, by their silence, 
they abandon such numbers of them to the insatiable avidity of 
our great proprietors. The truth ought to be told : they have 
written rather out of hatred to priests, than from love to men. 
The spirit of tolerance which they wish to establish, is a vain 
pretext, with which they conceal their real aim ; for the Pro- 
testants whom they are disposed to recal, are just as intolerant 
as they accuse the Catholics of being ; of which we had an in- 
stance a few years ago, in the very Land of Libert) , in Eng- 
land, where a Roman- Catholic Chapel was burnt down to the 
ground. Intolerance is a vice of European education, and which 
manifests itself in literature, in systems, and in puppet-shows. 
There is a farther reason to be assigned for these clamours : it 
is the same reason which sets them a-talking for the aggrandize 



304 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

ment of commerce, and silences them on the subject of agricul- 
ture, which is from it's very nature the most noble of all occu- 
pations. It is, since we must speak out, because rich merchants 
and great proprietors give splendid suppers, which are attended 
by fine women, who build up and destroy reputations at their 
pleasure, whereas the tillers of the ground, and persons starved 
into exile, give none. The table is now-a-days the main-spring 
of the aristocracy of the opulent. By means of this engine it is 
that an opinion, which may sometimes involve the ruin of a 
State, acquires preponderancy. There too it is, that the honour 
of a soldier, of a bishop, of a magistrate, of a man of letters, is 
frequently blasted by a woman who has forfeited her own. 

Modern politics have advanced another very gross error, in 
alleging that riches always find their level in a state. When the 
indigent are once multipaed in it to a certain point, a wretched 
emulation is produced among those poor people who shall give 
himself away the cheapest. Whilst, on the one hand, the rich 
man, teazed by his famished compatriots for employment, over- 
rates the value of his money, the poor, in order to obtain a pre- 
ference, let down the price of their labour, till at length it be- 
comes inadequate to their subsistence. And then we behold, 
in the best countries, agriculture, manufactures, and commerce, 
all expire. Consult, for this purpose, the accounts given us of 
different districts of Italy, and among others what Mr. Brydone 
has advanced, in his very sensible Tour,* notwithstanding the 
severe strictures of a canon of Palermo, respecting the luxury 
and extreme opulence of the Sicilian nobility and clergy, and 
the abject misery of the peasantry ; and you will perceive whe- 
ther money has found its level in that island or not. 

I have been in Malta, which is in no respect comparable, as to 
fertility of soil, with Sicily ; for it consists entirely of one white 

* I quote a g-veat many books of travels, because, of all literary produc- 
tions. Hove and esteem them the most. I myself have travelled a great deal, 
and lean affirm with truth, that I have almost always found them agreed, 
respecting the productions and the manners of every country, tudess when 
warped by national or party spirit. We must however except a small number, 
whose romantic tone strikes at first sight. They are run down by every body, 
yet every body consults them. They afi'ord a constant supply of information 
to Geographers, Naturalists, Navigators, Traders, Political Writers, Philo- 
sophers, Compilers on all subjects, Historians of Foreign Nations, and even 
'hose nf our own Countrv, when they are desirous of knowing the truth. 



STUDY XIII. 305 

rock ; but that rock is extremely rich in foreign wealth, froni 
the perpetual revenue of the commanderies of the Order of St. 
John, the capitals of which are deposited in all the Catholic 
States of Europe, and from the reversions, or spoils, of the 
Knights who die in foreign countries, and which find their way 
thith' r every year. It might be rendered still more opulent by 
the commodiousness of its harbour, which is situated the most 
advantageously of any in the Mediterranean : the peasant is 
there nevertheless in a most miserable condition. His whole 
clothing consists of drawers, which descend no lower than his 
knees, and of a shirt without sleeves. He sometimes takes his 
stand in the great square, his breast, legs, and arms quite naked, 
and scorched with the heat of the Sun, waiting for a fare, at the 
rate of one shilling a day, with a carriage capable of holding 
four persons drawn by a horse, from day-break till midnight ; 
and thus equipped, to attend travellers to any part of the island 
they think proper, without any obligation on their part to give 
either him or his beast so much as a draught of water. He con- 
ducts his calash, running always bare-footed over the rocks be- 
fore his horse, which he leads by the bridle, and before the lazy 
Knight, who hardly ever deigns to speak to him, unless it be to 
regale him with the appellation of scoundrel ; whereas the guide 
never presumes to make a reply but with cap in hand, and with 
the address of, Your most Illustrious Lordship. The treasury 
of the Republic is filled with gold and silver, and the common 
people are never paid but in a copper coin called a piece of four 
tarins, equivalent, in ideal value, to eightpence of our money, 
and intrinsically worth little more than two farthings. It is 
stamped with this device, non ces^ sed jidcs ; "not value, but 
" confidence." What a difference do exclusive possessions, and 
gold., introduce between man and man 1 A grave porter in Hol- 
land demands of you in gout geiddt^ that is, good money, for 
carrying your portmanteau the length of a street, as much as 
the humble Maltese Bastaze receives for carrying you and three 
ot your friends, a whole day together around the island. The 
Dutchman is well clothed, and has his pockets lined with good 
pieces of gold and silver. His coin presents a very different in- 
scription from that of Malta : you read these words on it: Con- 
cordia rea parvcc crescunt ; "through concord small things in- 
'■' crease." There is in truth as great a difference between the 
Vol.. II. Qq 



306 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

power and the felicity of one State and another, as between the 
inscriptions and the substances of their coin. 

In Nature it is that we are to look for the subsistence of a 
people, and in their liberty the channel in which it is to flow. 
The spirit of monopoly has destroyed many of the branches of 
it among us, which are pouring in tides of wealth upon our 
neighbours ; such are, among others, the whale, cod, and her- 
ring fisheries. I admit at the same time on the present occa- 
sion, that there are enterprizes which require the concurrence 
of a great number of hands, as well for their preservation and 
protection, as in order to accelerate their operations, such as the 
salt-water fisheries : but it is the business of the State to see to 
the adminstration of them. No one of our companies has ever 
been actuated by the patriotic spirit ; they have been associated, 
if I may be allowed the expression, only for the purpose of 
forming small particular States. It is not so with the Dutch. 
For example, as they carry on the herring-fishery to the north- 
ward of Scotland, for this fish is always better the farther North 
you go in quest of it, they have ships of war to protect the fish- 
ery. They have others of a very large burthen, called busses, 
employed night and day in catching them with the net : and 
others contrived to sail remarkably fast, which take them on 
board, and carry them quite fresh to Holland. Besides all this, 
they have premiums proposed to the vessel which first brings 
her cargo of fish to market at Amsterdam. The fish of the first 
barrel is paid at the Stadthouse, at the rate of a golden ducat, 
or about nine shillings and sixpence a-piece, and those of the 
rest of the cargo at the rate of a florin, or one shilling and ten- 
pence each. 

This is a powerful inducement to the proprietors of the fish- 
ing vessels, to stretch out to the North as far as possible, in or- 
der to meet the fish, which are there of a size and of a delica- 
cy of flavour far superior to those which are caught in the vici- 
nity of our coasts. The Dutch erected a statue to the man who 
first discovered the method of smoking them, and of making 
what they call red-herring. They thought, and they thought 
justly, that the citizen who procures for his country a new 
source of subsistence, and a new branch of commerce, deserves 
to rank with those who enlighten, or who defend it. From such 
attentions as these we see with what vigilance they watch over 



STUDY xin, 30r 

every thing capable of contributing to public abundance. It is 
inconceivable to what good account they turn an infinite num- 
ber of productions, which we suffer to run to waste, and this 
from a soil sandy, marshy, and naturally poor and ungrateful. 

I never knew a country in which there was such plenty of 
every thing. They have no vines in the countr)^, and there are 
more wines in their cellars than in those of Bourdeaux : they 
have no forests, and there is more ship-building timber in their 
dock-yards than at the sources of the Meuse and of the Rhine, 
from which their oaks are transmitted. Holland contains little 
or no arable ground, and her granaries contain more Polish 
com than that great kingdom reserves for the support of its own 
inhabitants. The same thing holds true as to articles of luxury ; 
for though they observe extreme simplicity in dress, furniture, 
and domestic economy, there is more marble on sale in their 
magazines than lies cut in the quarries of Italy and of the Ar- 
chipelago ; more diamonds and pearls in their caskets than in 
those of the jewellers of Portugal ; and more rose-wood, Aca- 
jou, Sandal, and India canes than there are in all Europe be- 
sides, though their own country produces nothing but willows 
and linden-trees. 

The felicity of the inhabitants presents a spectable still more 
interesting. I never saw all over the country so much as one 
beggar, nor a house in which there was a single brick or a sin- 
gle pane of glass deficient. But the 'Change of Amsterdam is 
the great object of admiration. It is a very large pile of build- 
ing, of an architecture abundantly simple, the quadrangular 
court of which is surrounded by a colonade. Each of its pillars, 
and they are very numerous, has its chapiter inscribed with the 
name of some one of the principal cities of die World, as Con- 
stantinople, Leghorn, Canton, Petersburg, Batavia, and so on ; 
and is, in propriety of speech, the centre of its commerce in 
Europe. Of these are very few but \\hat every day witnesses 
transactions to the amount of millions. Most of the good peo- 
ple who there assemble are dressed in brown, and without ruf- 
fles. This contrast appeared to me so much the more striking, 
that only five days before I happened to be upon the Palais 
Roval at Paris, at the same hour of the day, which was then 
crowded with people dressed in brilliant colours, with gold and 
pilver laces, and prating about nothings, the opera, literature, 



308 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

kept mistresses, and such contemptible trifles, and who had not, 
the greatest part of them at least, a single crown in their pocket 
which they could call their own. 

We had with us a young tradesman of Nantes, whose affairs 
had been unfortunately deranged, and who had come to seek an 
asylum in Holland, where he did not know a single person. He 
disclosed his situation to my travelling companion, a gentleman 
of the name of Le Breton. This Mr. Le Breton was a Swiss 
officer in the Dutch service, half soldier, half merchant, one of 
the best men living, who first gave him encouragement, and re- 
commended him immediately on his arrival to his own eldev 
brother, a respectable trader, who boarded in the same house 
where he had fixed. Mr. Le Breton the elder carried this un- 
fortunate refugee to the Exchange, and recommended him 
without ceremony, and without humiliation, to a commercial 
agent, who simply asked of the young Frenchman a specimen 
of his hand-writing ; he then took down his name and address 
in his pocket-book, and desired him to return next day to the 
same place at the same hour. I did not fail to observe the 
assignation in company with him and Mr. Le Breton. The 
agent appeared, and presented my compatriot with a list of se- 
ven or eight situations of clerk, in different counting-houses, 
some of which were worth better than thirty guineas a-year, 
beside board and lodging ; and others, about sixty pounds 
without board. He was accordingly settled at once, without 
farther solicitation. I asked the elder Mr. Le Breton whence 
came the active vigilance of this agent in favour of a stranger, 
and one entirely unknown to him : He replied ; " It is his trade ; 
" he receives, as an acknowledgment, one month's salary of the 
*•' person for whom he provides. Do not be surprised at this," 
added he, '' every thing here is turned to a commercial ac- 
" count, from an odd old shoe up to a squadron of ships." 

We must not suffer ourselves to be dazEled, however, by the 
illusions of a prodigious commerce ; and here it is that our po- 
litics have frequently misled us. Trade and manufactures, we 
are told, introduce millions into a State ; but the fine wools, the 
dye-stuffs, the gold and silver, and the other preparatives im- 
ported from foreign countries, are tributes which must be paid 
back : the people would not have manufactured the less ot the 
wools of the country on their own account ; and if it's cloths 



STUDY XIII. 309 

had been of the lowest quality, they would have been at least 
convened to their use. The unlimited commerce ot a countrj^ 
is adapted to a people possessing an ungracious and contracted 
territory, such as the Dutch; they export, not their own super- 
fluity, but that of other nations ; and they run no risk of want- 
ing necessaries, an evil which frequently befals many territo- 
rial powers. What does it avail a people to clothe all Europe 
with their woollens, if they themselves go naked ; to collect the 
best wines in the World, if they drink nothing but water ; and 
to export the finest of flour, if they eat only bread made of 
bran : Examples of such abuses might easily be adduced from 
Poland, from Spain, and from other countries, which pass for 
the most regularly governed. 

It is in agriculture chiefly that France ought to look for the 
principal means of subsistence for her inhabitants. Besides 
agriculture is the great support of morals and religion. It ren- 
ders marriages easy, necessary, and happy. It contributes to- 
ward raising a numerous progeny, which it employs, almost as 
soon as they are able to crawl, in collecting the fruits of the 
earth, or in tending the flocks and herds; but it bestows these 
advantages only on small landed properties. We have already 
said, and it cannot be repeated too frequently, that small pos- 
sessions double and quadruple in a country both crops, and the 
hands which gather them. Great estates, on the contrary, in 
the hand of one man, transform a country into vast solitudes. 
They inspire the wealthy farmers with a relish for city pride 
and luxury, and with a dislike of country employments. Hence 
they place their daughters in convents, that they may be bred 
as ladies, and send their sons to acadt- niies, to prepare them for 
becoming advocates or abbes. They rob the children of the 
trades-people of their resources ; for if the inhabitants of the 
country are always pi-essing tovv'ard an establishment in town, 
those of the great towns never look toward the plains, because 
they are blighted by tallages and imposts. 

Great landed properties expose the State to another dange- 
rous inconvenience, to which I do not believe that much atten- 
tion has hitherto been paid. The lands thus cultivated lie in 
fallow one year at least in three, and in many cases, once ever} 
other year. It must happen accordingl}-, as in every thing left 
to chance, that sometimes great quantities of such land lie fal 



310 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

low at once, and at other times very little. In those years un- 
doubtedly when the greatest part of those lands is lying fallow, 
much less corn must be reaped over the kingdom at large than 
in other years. This source of distress, which has never as far 
as I know as vet engaged the attention of Government, is one 
of the causes of that dearth, or unforeseen scarcity of grain, 
which from time to time falls heavy not on France only, but on 
the different Nations of Europe. 

Nature has parcelled out the administration of agriculture 
between Man and herself. To herself she has reserved the 
management of the winds, the rain, the Sun, the expansion of 
the plants ; and she is wonderfully exact in adapting the ele- 
ments conformably to the seasons : but she has left to Man, the 
adaptation of vegetables, of soils, the proportions which their 
culture ought to have to the societies to be maintained by them, 
and all the other cares and occupations which their preservation, 
their distribution, and their police demand. I consider this 
remark as of sufficient importance to evince the necessity of ap- 
pointing a particular Minister of agriculture.* If it should be 
found impossible for him to prevent chance combinations in the 
lands which might be in fallow all at once, he would have it at 
least in his power to prohibit the transportation of the grain of 
the country, in those years when th« greatest part of the land 
was in full crop, for it is clear almost to a demonstration, that 
the following yeaY, the general produce will be so much less, as 
a considerable proportion of the lands will then of course be in 
fallow. 

Small farms are not subjected to such vicissitudes ; they are 
every year productive, and almost at all seasons. Compare, as 

* There are many other reasons which militate in fivvoiir of the appoint- 
ment of a Minister of Agriculture. The watering canals absorbed by the 
luxury of the g-i'eat Lords, or by tiie commerce of the g^reat Towns ; the 
puddles and laystalls which poison tlic villag'es, and feed perpeturd focuses 
of epidemic disease ; the safety of the great roads, and the regulation of the 
inns upon them ; the militia-draughts and imposts of the peasantry ; the in- 
justice to which ihey are in many cases subjected, witliout daring so mucJi 
as to complain, these would present to him a multitude of useful establish- 
ments which might be made, or of abuses which might be corrected. I am 
aware tliat most of these functions are apportioned mto divers departments ; 
but it is impossible they shoidd harmonize, and effectuallv co-operate, till 
• he responsibility attaches to a single individual. 



STUDY XIII. 311 

I have already suggested, the quantity of fruits, of roots, of pot- 
herbs, of grass, and of grain annually reaped, and without inter- 
mission, on a track of ground in the vicinity of Paris called the 
Pre Saint-Gervais^ the extent of which is but moderate, situated 
besides on a declivity, and exposed to the North, with the pro- 
ductions of an equal portion of ground taken in the plains of the 
neighbourhood, and managed on the great scale of agriculture ; 
and you will be sensible of a prodigious difference. There is 
likewise a difference equally striking in the number, and in the 
moral character of the labouring poor who cultivate them. I 
have heard a respectable Ecclesiastic declare, that the former 
class went regularly to confession once a month, and that fre- 
quently their confession contained nothing which called for ab- 
solution. 

I say nothing of the endless variety of delight which results 
from their labours ; from their beds of pinks, of violets, of larks- 
heel ; their fields of com, of pease, of pulse ; their edgings of 
lilach, of vines, by which the small possessions are subdivided : 
their stripes of meadow ground displaying alternately opening 
glades, clumps of willows and poplars discovering through their 
moving umbrage, at the distance of several leagues, either the 
mountains melting away into the horizon, or unknown castles, 
or the village-spires in the plain, whose rural chimes from time 
to time catch the ear. Here and there you fall in with a foun- 
tain of limpid water, the source of which is covered with an 
arch enclosed on every side with large slabs of stone, which 
give it the appearance of an antique monument. I have some- 
times read the following innocent inscriptions traced on the 
stones with a bit of charcoal : 

CoLiJf and Colette, this 8th of March, 
Antoinette and Sebastian, this 6th of Ma}. 

And I have been infinitely more delighted with such inscrip- 
tions than with those of the Academy of Sciences. When the 
families which cultivate this enchanted spot are scattered about, 
parents and children, through it's glens, and along it's ridges, 
while the ear is struck with the distant voice of a country lass 
singing unperceived, or while the eye is caught by the figure of 
a lusty young swain, mounted on an apple-tree, with his basket 
and ladder, looking this way and that way, and listening to the 



312 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

song, like another Vertumnus: Where is the park with it's sta- 
tues, it's marbles, and it's bronzes, once to be compared with it ? 

O ye rich ! who wish to encompass yourselves with elysian 
scenery, let your park-walls enclose villages blest with rural fe- 
licity. What deserted tracks of land over the whole kingdom 
might present the same spectacle ! I have seen iirittany, and 
other provinces, covered as far as the eye could reach with 
heath, and where nothing grew but a species of prickly furze, 
black and yellowish. Our agricultural companies, which there 
to no purpose employ their large ploughs of new construction, 
have pronounced those regions to be smitten with perpetual ste- 
rility ; but these heaths discover, by the ancient divisions of 
the fields, and by the ruins of old huts and fences, that they 
have been formerly in a state of cultivation. They are at this 
day surrounded by farms in a thriving condition, on the self- 
same soil. HoAV many others would be still more fruitful, such 
as those of Bourdeaux, which are covered over with great pines ! 
A soil which produces a tall tree is surely capable of bearing an 
ear of corn. 

In speaking of the vegetable order, we have indicated the 
means of distinguishing the natural analogies of plants with 
each latitude and each soil. There is actually no soil whatever, 
were it mere sand, or mud, on which, through a particular 
kindness of Providence, some one or other of our domestic 
phmts may not thrive. But the first step to be taken is to re- 
sow the woods which formerly sheltered those places, now ex- 
posed to the action of the winds, whereby the germ of every 
smaller plant is cankered as it shoots. These means however, 
and many others of a similar nature, belong not to the jurisdic- 
tion of insatiable companies, with their delineations on the great 
scale, neither are they consistent with provincial imposts and 
oppression ; they depend on the local and patient assiduity of 
families enjoying liberty, possessing property which they can 
call their ov/n, not subjected to petty tyrants, but holding im- 
mediately of the Sovereign. By such patriotic means as these 
the Dutch have forced oaks to grow at Schevelling, a village in 
the neighbourhood of the Hague, in pure sea-land, of which I 
have had the evidence from my own eyes. I repeat an asser- 
tion already hazarded : It is not on the face of vast domains, 
but into the basket of the vintager, and the apron of the reaper, 



STUDY XIII. 313 

that God pours down from Heaven the precious fruits of the 
Earth. 

These extensive districts of land in the kingdom lying totally 
useless, have attracted the attention of sordid cupidity ; but 
there is a still greater quantity which has escaped it, from the 
impossibility of forming such tracks into marquisates or seigno- 
ries ; and because likewise the great plough is not at all appli- 
cable to them. These are, among others, the stripes by the high- 
way side, which are innumerable. Our great roads are, I ad- 
mit, for the most part rendered productiv^e, being skirted with 
elms. The elm is undoubtedly a very useful tree : it's wood is 
proper for cart-wright's work. But we have a tree which is far 
preferable to it, because it's wood is never attacked by the 
insect ; it is excellent for wainscotting, and it produces abun- 
dance of very nutrimental food : it is the chesnut-tree I mean. 
A judgment may be formed of the duration and of the beauty 
of it's wood, from the ancient wainscotting of the market St. 
Germain, before it was burnt down. The joists were of a pro- 
digious length and thickness, and perfectly sound though more 
than four liundred years old. The durable quality of this wood 
may still be ascertained, by examining the wainscotting of the 
ancient castle of Marcoussi, built in the time of Charles VI. 
about five leagues from Paris. We have of late entirely ne- 
glected this valuable tree, which is now allowed to grow only as 
coppice wood in our forests. It's port however is very majes- 
tic, it's foliage beautiful, and it bears such a quantit}- of fruit, in 
tiers multipliefl one a-top of the other, that no spot of the same 
extent sown with com, could produce a crop of subsistence so 
plentiful.* 

It must be admitted, as v/e have seen, in discussing the cha- 
racters of vegetables, that this tree takes pleasure only in dry 
and elevated situations ; but we have another adapted to the / 
valleys and humid places, of not much inferior utility, whether "" 
we attend to the wood or to the fruit, and whose port is equally 
majestic : it is the walnut-tree. These beautiful trees would 
magnificently decorate our great roads. With them might 

• The chesnut of America, though I thhik specifically different from that 
of Europe, is also a tree of great importance. It was, for a Ic.ig time, much 
neglected by us : but it has, at lengtli, begun to solicit both attention and 
protection from our farmers, &c. — B. S. B. 

Vol. II. R r 



314 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

likewise be intermixed other trees peculiar to each district. 
They would announce to travellers the various provinces of the 
kingdom : the vine, Burgundy ; the apple-tree, Normandy ; the 
mulberry, Dauphiny ; the olive, Provence. Their stems loaded 
with produce, would determine much better than stakes fur- 
nished with iron collars, and than the tremendous gibbets of 
criminal justice, the limits of each province, and the gently di- 
versified seignories of Nature. 

It may be objected, that the crops would be gathered by 
passengers ; but they hardly ever touch the grapes in the vine- 
yai'ds which sometimes skirt the highway. Besides if they were 
to pick the fruit, what harm would be done ? When the King of 
Prussia ordered the sides of many of the great roads through 
Pomerania to be planted with fruit-trees, it was insinuated to 
him that the fruit would be stolen : " The people," replied he, 
" at least will profit by it." Our cross-roads present perhaps 
still more lost ground than the great highways. If it is considered, 
that by means of them the communication is kept up between 
the smaller cities, towns, villages, hamlets, abbeys, castles, and 
even single country-houses ; that several of them issue in the 
same place, and that every one must have at least the breadth 
of a chariot ; we shall find the whole space which they occupy 
to be of incredible magnitude. It would be proper to begin 
with applying the line to them ; for most of thtm proceed in a 
serpentine direction, which in many cases adds a full third to 
their length beyond what is necessary. I acknowledge at the 
same time, that these sinuosities are highly agreeable, especially 
along the declivity of a hill, over the ridge of a mountain, in 
rural situations, or through the midst of forests. But they might 
be rendered susceptible of another kind of beauty, by skirting 
them with fruit-trees which do not rise to a great height, and 
which, flying off in perspective, would give a greater apparent 
extension to the landscape. These trees would likewise afford 
a shade to travellers. The husbandmen I know allege, that the 
shade so grateful to passengers, is injurious to their standing 
corn. They are undoubtedly in the right, as to several sorts of 
grain; but there are some which thrive better in places somewhat 
shaded than any where else, as may be seen m the Pre Saint 
Gervais. Besides, the farmer would be amply indemnified b} 
the wood of the fruit-trrc^, an--] hv tbe crops of fruit. The in- 



STUDY XIII. 315 

terests even of the husbandman and of the traveller might farther 
be rendered compatible, by planting only the roads which go 
from North to South, and the south side of those which run 
East and West, so that the shade of their trees should scarcely 
fall on the arable lands. 

It would be moreover necessary, in order to increase the na- 
tional subsistence, to restore to the plough great quantities of 
land now in pasture. There is hardly such a thing as a mea- 
dow in all China, a country so extremely populous. The Chi- 
nese sow every where com and rice, and feed their cattle with 
the straw. They say it is better that the beasts should live with 
Man, than Man with the beasts. The cattle are not the less fat 
for this. The German horses, the most -vigorous of animals, 
feed entirely on straw cut short, with a small mixture of barley 
or oats. Our farmers are every day adopting practices the 
directly contrary of this economy. They turn, as I have ob- 
served in many provinces, a great deal of land which formerly 
produced com into small grass farms, to save the expense of 
cultivation, and especially to escape the tithe, which their cler- 
gy do not receive from pasture-lands. I have seen in Lower 
Normandy immense quantities of land, thus forced out of it's 
natural state, greatly to the public detriment. The following 
anecdote was told me, on my taking notice of an ancient track 
of com-land which had undergone a metamorphosis of this 
sort. The rector, vexed at losing part of his revenue, without 
having it in his power to complain, said to the owner of the 
land, by way of advice : " Master Peter ^ in my opinion, if you 
" would remove the stones from that ground, dung it well, 
" plough it thoroughly, and sow it with com, you might still 
" raise very excellent crops." The farmer, an arch, shrewd 
fellow, perceiving the drift of his tithing-man, replied : " You 
" are in the right, good Mr. Rector ; if you will take the ground 
" and do all this to it, I shall ask no more of you than the tithe 
" of the crop." 

Our agriculture will never attain all the activity of which it 
is susceptible unless it is restored to it's native dignity. Means 
ought therefore to be employed to induce a multitude of easy 
and idle burghers, who vegetate in our small cities, to go and 
live in the country. In order to determine them to this, hus- 
bandmen ought to be exempted from the humiliating imposi- 



316 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

tions of tallage, of seignorial exactions, and even of those of 
the militia-service, to which they are at present subjected* 
The state must undoubtedly be served, when necessity requires ; 
but wherefore affix characters of humiliation to the services 
which she imposes i Why not accept a commutation in money ? 
It would require a great deal, our Politicians tell us. Yes, un- 
doubtedly. But do not our Burgesses likewise pay many im- 
posts in our towns, in lieu of these very services ? Besides, the 
more inhabitants that there are scattered over the country, the 
lighter will fall the burthen on those who are assessable. A 
man properly brought up, would much rather be touched in his'" 
purse, than suffer in his self-love. 

By what fatal contradiction have we subjected the greatest 
part of the lands of France to soccage-tenures, while we have 
ennobled those of the New World ? The same husbandman 
who in France must pay tallage, and go with the pick-axe in his 
hand to labour on the high-road, may introduce his children in- 
to the King's Household, provided he is an inhabitant of one 
of the West-India Islands. This injudicious dispensation of 
nobility has proved no less fatal to those foreign possessions, 
into which it has introduced slavery, than to the lands of the 
Mother-Country, the labourers of which it has drained of many 
of their resources. Nature invited into the wildernesses of 
America the overflowings of the European Nations : she had 
there disposed every thing, with an attention truly maternal, to 
indemnify the Europeans for the loss of their country. There 
is no necessity, in those regions, for a man to scorch himself in 
the Sun while he reaps his grain, nor to be benumbed with cold 
in tending his flocks as they feed, nor to cleave the stubborn 
earth v/ith the clumsy plough to make it produce aliment for 
him, nor to rake into it's bov/els to extract from thence iron, 
stone, clay, and the first materials of his house and furniture- 
Kind Nature has there placed on trees, in the shade, and within 
the reach of the hand, all that is necessary and agreeable to hu- 
man life. She has there deposited milk and butter in the nuts 
of the cocoa-tree ; perfumed creams in the apples of the atte^ 
table linen and provision in the large sattiny leaves, and in the 
delicious figs, of the banana ; loaves ready for the fire in the 
potatoes, and the roots of the manioc ; down finer than the 
wool of the fleecy sheep in the shell of the cotton plant j dishes 



STUDY XIII. 317 

of every form in the gourrls of the calabasse. She had there 
contrived habitations, impenetrable by the rain and by the rays 
of the Sun, under the thick branches of the Indian fig-tree, 
which rising toward Heaven, and afterwards descending down 
to the ground where they take root, form by their continued 
arcades palaces of verdure. She had scattered about, for the 
purposes at once of delight and of commerce, along the rivers, 
in the bosom of the rocks, and in the very bed of torrents, the 
maize, the sugar-cane, the chocolate-nut, the tobacco-plant, with 
a multitude of other useful vegetables, and from the resemblance 
of the Latitudes of this New World to that of the different 
countries of the Old, she promised it's future inhabitants to 
adopt, in their favour, the coffee-plant, the indigo, and the other 
most valuable vegetable productions of Africa and of Asia. 
Wherefore has the ambition of Europe inundated those happy 
climates with the tears and the blood of the human race ? Ah ! 
had liberty and virtue collected and united their first planters, 
how many charms would French industry have added to the 
natural fecundity of the soil, and to the happy temperature of 
the tropical regions ! 

No fogs or excessive heats are there to be dreaded j and 
though the Sun passes twice a year over their Zenith, he every 
day brings with him, as he rises above the Horizon, along the 
surface of the Sea, a cooling breeze which all day long refreshes 
the mountains, the forests, and the valleys. What delicious 
retreats might our poor soldiers and possessionless peasants find 
in those fortunate islands ! What expense in garrisons might 
there have been spared ! What petty seignories might there 
have become the recompense either of gallant officers, or of vir- 
tuous citizens ! What nurseries of excellent seamen might be 
formed by the turtle-fishery, so abundant on the shallows sur- 
rounding the islands, or by the stiil more extensive and profita- 
ble cod-fishery on the banks of Newfoundland ! It would not 
have cost Europe much more than the expense of the setde- 
ment of the first families. With what facility might they have 
been successively extended to the most I'emote distances, by 
forming them after the manner of the Caraibs themselves, one 
after another, and at the expense of the community ! Undoubt- 
edly had this natural progression been adopted, our power 



518 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

would at this day have extended to the very centre of the Ame- 
rican Continent, and could have bidden defiance to every attack. 

Government has been taught to believe that the independence 
of our colonies would be a necessary consequence of their pros- 
perity, and the case of the Anglo-American colonies has been 
adduced in proof of this. But these colonies were not lost to 
Great Britain because she had rendered them too happy ; it was 
on the contrary because she oppressed them. Britain was be- 
sides guilty of a great error, by introducing too great a mixture 
of strangers among her colonists. There is farther a remarka- 
ble difference between the genius of the English and ours. The 
Englishman carries his country with him wherever he goes : if 
he is making a fortune abroad, he embellishes his habitation in 
the place where he is settled, introduces the manufactures of 
his own Nation into it, there he lives, and there he dies ; or if 
he returns to his country, he fixes his residence near the place 
of his birth. The Frenchman does not feel in the same man- 
ner : all those whom I have seen in the Islands, always consider 
themselves as strangers there. During a twenty years resi- 
dence in one habitation they will not plant a single tree before 
the door of the house, for the benefit of enjoying it's shade ; to 
hear them talk, they are all on the wing to depart next year at 
farthest. If they actually happen to acquire a fortune away 
they go, nay frequently without having made any thing, and on 
their return home settle, not in their native province or village, 
but at Paris. 

This is not the place to unfold the cause of that national aver- 
sion to the place of birth, and of that predilection in favour of 
the Capital ; it is an effect of several moral causes, and among 
others of education. Be it as it may, this turn of mind is alone 
sufficient to prevent for ever the independence of our colonies. 
The enormous expense of preserving them, and the facility with 
which they are captured, ought to have cured us of this preju- 
dice. They are all in such a state of weakness, that if their 
commerce with the Mother-countrj'^ were to be interrupted but 
for a few years, they would presently be distressed for want of 
many articles essentially necessary. It is even singularly re- 
markable, that they do not manufacture there a single production 
gf the country. They raise cotton of the very finest quality. 



STUDY XIII. 319 

but make no cloth of it as in Europe ; they do not so much as 
practice the art of spinning it, as the savages do ; nor do they, 
like them, turn to any account the threads of pitte^ of those of 
the banana, or of the leaves of the palmist. The cocoa-tree, 
which is a treasure to the East-Indies, comes to great perfection 
in our islands, and scarcely any use is made of the fruit, or of 
the threaden husk that covers it. They cultivate indigo, but 
employ it in no process whatever of dying. Sugar then is the 
only article of produce which is there pursued through the seve- 
ral necessary processes, because it cannot be turned to commer- 
cial account till it is manufactured ; and after all it must be re- 
fined in Europe before it attains a state of full perfection. 

We have had, it must be admitted, some seditious insurrec- 
tions in our Colonies ; but these have been much more frequent 
in their state of weakness than in that of their opulence. It is 
the injudicious choice of the persons sent thither which has at 
all times rendered them the seat of discord. How could it be 
expected that citizens who had disturbed the tranquillity of a 
long established state of Society, should concur in promoting the 
peace and prosperity of a rising community ? The Greeks and 
Romans employed the flower of their youth, and their most vir- 
tuous citizens, in the plantation of their colonies : and they be- 
came themselves kingdoms and empires. Far different is the 
case with us ; bachelor-soldiers, seamen, gownmen, and those 
of every rank ; officers of the higher orders, so numerous and 
so useless, have filled ours with the passions of Europe, with a 
rage for fashion, with unprofitable luxury, with corruptive max- 
ims and licentious manners. Nothing of this kind was to be 
apprehended from our vmdebauched peasantry. Bodily laboui 
soothes to rest the solicitudes of the mind, fixes it's natural rest- 
lessness, and promotes among the people health, patriotism, re-- 
ligion and happiness. But admitting that in process of time 
these Colonies should be separated from France : Did Greece 
waste herself in tears when her flourishing Colonics carried her 
laws and her renown over the coasts of Asia, and along the 
shores of the Euxine Sea, and of the Mediterranean ? Did she 
take the alarm when they became the stems out of which sprung 
powerful kingdoms and illustrious republics ? Because they se- 
parated from her were they transformed into her enemies : and 
was she not, on the contrary, frequently protected by them ? 



320 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

What harm would have ensued had shoots from the tree erf" 
France borne lilies in America, and shaded the New World 
with their majestic branches ? 

Let the truth be frankly acknowledged, Few men admitted 
to the councils of Princes take a lively interest in the felicity of 
Mankind. When sight of this great object is lost, national 
prosperity and the glory of the Sovereign quickly disappear. 
Our Politicians, by keeping the Colonies in a perpetual state of 
dependence, of agitation and penury, have discovered ignorance 
of the nature of Man, who attaches himself to the place which 
he inhabits only by the ties of the felicity which he enjoys. By 
introducing into them the slavery of the Negroes, they have 
formed a connexion between them and Africa, and have broken 
asunder that which ought to have united them to their poor 
fellow-citizens. They have farther discovered ignorance of the 
European character, which is continually apprehensive, under a 
warm climate, of seeing it's blood degraded like that of it's 
slaves ; and which sighs incessantly after new alliances with it's 
compatriots, for keeping up in the veins of those little ones the 
circulation of the clear, and lively colour of the European blood, 
and the sentiment of country still more interesting. By giving 
them perpetually new civil and military rulers, magistrates en- 
tire strangers to them, who keep them under a severe yokej 
men, in a word, eager to accumulate fortune, they have betray- 
ed ig-norance of the French character, which had no need of 
such barriers to restrain it to the love of country, seeing it is 
universally regretting it's productions, it's honours, nay it's very 
disorders. They have accordingly succeeded neither in form- 
ing colonists for America, nor patriots for France ; and they 
have mistaken at once the interests of their Nation and of their 
Sovereigns, whom they meant to serve. 

I have dwelt the longer on the subject of these abuses, that 
they are not yet beyond the power of remedy in various respects, 
and that there are still lands in the New World on which a 
change may be attempted in the nature of our establishments. 
But this is neither the time nor the place for unfolding the 
means of these. After having proposed some remedies for the 
physical disorders of the Nation, let us now proceed to the mo- 
ral irregularity which is the source of them. The principal 
cause is the spirit of division which prevails between the diflfe- 



STUDY XIII. 321 

vent orders of the State. There are only two methods of cure ; 
the first, to extinguish the motives to division, the second to mul- 
tiply and increase the motives to union. 

The greatest part of our Writers make a boast of our na- 
tional spirit of society ; and foreigners in reality look upon it as 
the most sociable in Europe. Foreigners are in the right, for 
the truth is we receive and caress them with ardor; but our 
Writers are under a mistake. Shall I venture to expose it? 
We are thus fond of strangers because we do not love our com* 
patriots. For my own part I have never met with this spirit of 
union either in families or in associations, or in natives of the 
same province ; I except only the inhabitants of a single province 
which I must not name ; who as soon as they are got a little from 
home, express the greatest ardor of affection for each other. 
But as all the truth must out, it is rather from antipathy to the 
other inhabitants of the kingdom than from love to their com- 
patriots, for, from time immemorial, that province has been ce- 
lebrated for intestine divisions. In general, the real spirit of 
patriotism, which is the first sentiment of humanity, is very rare 
in Europe, and particularly among ourselves. 

Without carrying this reasoning any farther, let us look for 
proofs of the fact which are level to every capacity. When we 
read certain relations of the customs and manners of the Nations 
of Asia, we are touched with the sentiment of humanity, which 
among them attracts men to each other, notwithstanding the 
phlegmatic taciturnity which reigns in their assemblies. If, for 
example, an Asiatic on a journey stops to enjoy his repast, his 
servants and camel-driver collect around him, and place them- 
selves at his table. If a stranger happens to pass by, he too sits 
down with him, and after having made an inclination of the 
head to the master of the family, and given God thanks, he 
rises and goes on his way, without being interrogated by any 
one who he is, whence he comes, or ^\ hither he goes. This 
hospitable practice is common to the Armenians, to the Geor- 
gians, to the Turks, to the Persians, to the Siamese, to the 
Blacks of Madagascar, and to different Nations of Africa and 
of America. In those countries Man is still dear to Man. 

At Paris, on the contrary, if 3'ou go into the dining-room of 
a Tavern, where there are a dozen tables spread, should twelve 
persons airive one after another, vou see each of them take his 

Vol. II. S s 



322 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

place apart at a separate table, without uttering a syllable. If 
new guests did not successively come in, each of the first twelve 
would tat his morsel alone, like a Carthusian monk. For some 
time a profound silence prevails, till some thoughtless fellow 
put into good humor by his dinner, and pressed by an inclina- 
tion to talk, takes upon him to set the conversation a-going. 
Upon this the eyes of the whole company are drawn toward the 
orator, and he is measured in a twinkling from head to foot. 
If he has the air of a person of consequence, that is rich, they 
give him the hearing. Nay he finds ptrsons disposed to flatter 
him, by confirming his intelligence, and applauding his literary 
opinion, or his loose maxim. But if his app-earance displays no 
mark of extraordinary distinction, had he delivered sentiments 
worthy of a Socrates^ scarce has he proceeded to the opening of 
his thesis when some one interrupts him with a flat contradic- 
tion. His opponents are contradicted in their turn by other wits 
who think proper to enter the lists ; then the conversation be- 
comes general and noisy. Sarcasms, harsh names, perfidious 
insinuations, gross abuse, usually conclude the pitting ; and each 
of the guests retires perfectly well-pleased with himself, and 
with a hearty contempt for the rest. 

You find the same scenes acted in our coffee-houses, and on 
our public walks. Men go thither expressly to hunt for admi- 
ration, and to play the critic. It is not the spirit of Society 
which allures us toward each other, but the spirit of division. 
In what is called good company matters is still worse mana- 
ged. If you mean to be well received you must pay for your 
dinner at the expense of the family with whom you supped the 
night before. Nay you may think yourself very well ofl^ if it 
costs you only a few scandalous anecdotes ; and if, in order to 
be well with the husband, you are not obliged to bubble him, by 
making love to his wife ! 

The original source of these divisions is to be traced up to 
our mode of education. We are taught from earliest infancy to 
prefer ourselves to others, by continued suggestions to be the 
first among our school-companions. As this unprofitable emu- 
lation presents not to far the greatest pan of the citizens, any 
career to be performed on the theatre of the World, each of 
them assumes a preference from his province, his birth, his 
rank, his figure, his dress, nay the tutelary saint of his parish. 



STUDY XIII. 323 

.Hence proceed our social animosities, and all the insulting nick- 
names given by the Norman to the Gascogn, by the Parisian to 
the Champenois, by the man of family to the man of no family, 
by the Lawyer to the Ecclesiastic, by the Jansenist to the Mo- 
linist, and so on. The man asserts his pre-eminence, especially, 
by opposing his own good qualities to the faults of his neigh- 
bour. This is the reason that slander is so easy, so agreeable, 
and that it is in general the master-spring of our conversations. 

A person of high quality one day said to me, that there did 
not exist a man, however wretched, whom he did not find su- 
perior to himself in respect of some advantage whereby he sur- 
passes persons of our condition, whether it be as to youth, 
health, talents, figure, or in short some one good quality or an- 
other, whatever our superiority in other respects may be. This 
is literally true ; but this manner of viewing the members of a 
Society belongs to the province of virtue, and that is not ours. 
The contrary maxim being equally true, our pride lays hold of 
that, and finds a determination to it from the manners of the 
World, and from our very education, which from infancy sug- 
gests the necessity of this personal preference. 

Our public spectacles farther concur toward the increase of 
the spirit of division among us. Our most celebrated comedies 
usually represent tutors cozened by their pupils, fathers bv their 
children, husbands by their wives, masters by their servants. 
The shows of the populace exhibit nearly the same pictures ; 
and as if they were not already sufficiently disposed to irregula- 
rity, they are presented with scenes of intoxication, of lewdness, 
of robbery, of constables drubbed : these instruct them to un- 
der-value at once morals and magistrates. Spectacles draw to- 
gether the bodies of the citizens, and alienate their minds. 

Comedy, we are told, cures vice by the power of ridicule ; 
easti^at ridendo mores. This adage is equally false with many 
others which are made the basis of our morality. Comedy 
teaches us to laugh at another, and nothing more. No one says, 
when the representation is over, the portrait of this miser has a 
strong resemblance of myself ; but every one instantly discerns 
in it the image and likeness of his neighbour. It is long since 
Horace made this remark^ But on the supposition that a m ,n 
should perceive himself in th' dramatic representation, I do not 
perceive how the reformation ot vice \vould ensue. How couid 



324 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

it be imagined that the way for a physician to cure his patient, 
would be to clap a mirror before his face, and then laugh at him ? 
If my vice is held up as an object of ridicule, the laugh, so far 
from giving me a disgust at it, plunges me in the deeper. I 
employ every effort to conceal it ; I become a hypocrite : with- 
out taking into the account, that the laugh is much more fre- 
quently levelled against virtue than against vice. It is not the 
faithless wife, or profligate son, who is held up to scorn, but the 
good-natured husband or the indulgent father. In justification of 
our own taste we refer to that of the Greeks ; but we forget that 
their idle spectacles directed the public attention to the most 
frivolous objects ; that their stage frequently turned into ridicule 
the virtue of the most illustrious citizens ; and that their scenic 
exhibitions multiplied among them the aversions and the jealou- 
sies which accelerated their ruin. 

Not that I would represent laughing as a crime, or that I be- 
lieve, with Hobbes^ it must proceed from pride. Children 
laugh, but most assuredly not from pride. They laugh at sight 
of a flower, at the sound of a rattle. There is a laugh of joy, 
of satisfaction, of composure. But ridicule differs widely from 
the smile of Nature. It is not, like this last, the effect of some 
agreeable harmony in our sensations, or in our sentiments : but 
it is the result of a harsh contrast between two objects, of which 
the one is great, the other little ; of which the one is powerful 
and the other feeble. It is remarkably singular that ridicule is 
produced by the very same oppositions which produce terror ; 
with this difference, that in ridicule the mind makes a transition 
from an object that is formidable to one that is frivolous, and in 
terror, from an object that is frivolous to one that is formida- 
ble. The aspic of Cleopatra in a basket of fruit ; the fingers of 
the hand which wrote, amidst the madness of a festivity, the 
doom of Belshazzar ; the sound of the bell which announces the 
death of Clarissa; the foot of a savage imprinted in a desert 
island upon the sand, scare the imagination infinitely more than 
all the horrid apparatus of battles, executions, massacres, and 
death. According!}*, in order to impress an awful terror, a 
frivolous and unimportant object ought to be first exhibited ; 
and in order to excite excessive mirth, you ought to begin with 
a solemn idea. To this may be farther added some other con- 
trast, such as that of surprize, and some one of those sentiments 



STUDY XIII. 325 

which plunge us into infinity, such as that of mystery ; in this 
case the soul, having lost it's equilibrium, precipitates itself into 
terror, or into mirth, according to the arrangement which has 
been made for it. 

We frequently see these contrary effects produced by the same 
means. For example, if the nurse wants her child to laugh, 
she shrowds her head in her apron ; upon this the infant be- ♦ 
comes serious ; then all at once she shews her face, and he 
bursts into a fit of laughter. If she means to terrify him, which 
is but too frequently the case, she first smiles upon the child, 
and he retvirns it : then all at once she assumes a serious air, or 
conceals her face, and the child falls a-crying. 

I shall not say a word more respecting these violent opposi- 
tions, but shall only adduce this consequence from them, that it 
is the most wretched part of Mankind which has the greatest 
propensity to ridicule. Terrified by politkal and moral phan- 
toms, they endeavour first of all to drown respect for them ; and 
it is no difficult matter to succeed in this : for Nature, always 
at hand to succour oppressed humanity, has blended in most 
things of human institution, the effusions of ridicule with those 
of terror. The only thing requisite is to invert the objects of 
their comparison. It was thus that Aristophanes^ by his come- 
dy of The Clouds^ subverted the religion of his country. Attend 
to the behaviour of lads at college ; the pi'csence of the master 
at first sets them a-trembling : What contrivance do they employ 
to familiarize themselves to his idea ? They try to turn him into 
ridicule, an effort in which they commonly succeed to admira- 
tion. The love of ridicule in a people is by no means there- 
fore a proof of their happiness, but on the contrary of their mi- 
sery. This accounts for the gravity of the ancient Romans ; 
they were serious, because they were happy : but their descen- 
dants, who are at this day very miserable, are likewise famous 
for their pasquinades, and supply all Europe v»ith harlequins 
and buffoons. 

I do not deny that spectacles, such as tragedies, may have a 
tendency to unite the citizens. The Greeks frequently employ- 
ed them to this effect. But by adopting their dramas we deviate 
from their intention. Their theatrical representations did not 
exhibit the calamities of other Nations, but those which they 
themselves had endured, and events borrowed from the History 



326 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

of their own country. Our tragedies excite a compassion whose 
object is foreign to us. We lament the distresses of the family 
of Ag-amemnon^ and we behold without shedding one tear those 
who are in the depth of misery at our very door. We do not 
so much as perceive their distresses, because they are not ex- 
hibited on a stage. Our own heroes nevertheless well repre- 
sented in the theatre, would be sufficient to carry the patriotism 
of the people to the very height of enthusiasm. What crowds 
of spectators have been attracted, and what bursts ol applause 
excited, by the heroism of Eustace Saint-Pierre^ in the Siege of 
Calais ! The death of Joan of Arc would produce effects still 
more powerful, if a man of genius had the courage to efface the 
ridicule which has been lavished on that respectable and unfor- 
tunate young woman, to whose name Greece would have con- 
secrated altar upon altar. 

I will deliver my thoughts on the subject, in a few words, 
if perhaps it may incite some virtuous man to undertake 
it. I could wish them without departing from the truth of 
History, to have her represented at the moment when she is 
honoured with the favour of her Sovereign, the acclamations of 
the army, and at the very pinnacle of glory, deliberating on her 
return to an obscure hamlet, there to resume the employments of 
a simple shepherdess, unnoticed and unknown. Solicited af- 
terwards by Dunois^ she determines to brave new dangers in 
the service of her country. At last, made prisoner in an en- 
gagement, she falls into the hands of the English. Interrogated 
by inhuman judges, among Avhom are the Bishops of her own 
Nation, the simplicity and innocence of her replies render her 
triumphant over the insidious questions of her enemies. She is 
adjudged by them to perpetual imprisonment. I would have a 
representation of the dungeon in which she is doomed to pass 
the remainder of her miserable days, with it's long spiracles, it's 
iron grates, it's massy arches, the wretched truckle-bed provided 
for her repose, the cruise of water and the black bread which 
are to serve her for food. I would draw from her own lips 
the touchingly plaintive reflections suggested by her condition, 
on the nothingness of human grandeur, her innocent expressions 
of regret for the loss of rural felicity ; and then the gleams of 
hope of being relieved by her Prince, extinguished by despair at 
sight of the fearful abyss which has closed over her head. 



STUDY XIII. 32r 

I would then display the snare laid for her by her perfidious 
enemies while she was asleep, in placing by her side the arms 
with which she had combatted them. She perceives on awak- 
ening those monuments of her glor)-. Hurried away by the 
passion at once of a woman and of a hero, she covers her head 
with the helmet, the plume of which had shewn the dispirited 
French army the road to victory ; she grasps with her feeble 
hands that sword so formidable to the English ; and at the in- 
stant when the sentiment of her own glory is making her eyes 
to overflow with tears of exultation, her dastardly foes sudden- 
ly present themselves, and unanimously condemn her to the 
most horrible of deaths. Then it is we should behold a spec- 
tacle worthy of the attention of Heaven itself, virtue conflicting 
with extreme misery ; we should hear her bitter complaints of 
the indifference of her Sovereign whom she had so nobly serv- 
ed J we should see her perturbation at the idea of the horrid 
punishment prepared for her, and still more at the apprehen- 
sion of the calumny which is for ever to sully her reputation ; 
we should hear her, amidst conflicts so tremendous, calling in 
question the existence of a Providence, the protector of the 
innocent. 

To death at last however walk out she must. At that mo- 
ment it is I could wish to see all her courage rekindle. I would 
have her represented on the funeral pile, where she is going to 
terminate her days, looking down on the empty hopes with 
which the World amuses those who serve it ; exulting at the 
thought of the everlasting infamy with which her death will 
clothe her enemies, and of the immortal glory which will for 
ever crown the place of her birth, and even that ol her execu- 
tion. I could wish that her last words, animated by Religion, 
might be more sublime than those of Dido, when she exclaims 
on the fatal pile : — Exoriare oliquis nostris ex ossibus ultor, 
*' Start up some dire avenger from these bones." 

I could wish, in a word, that this subject, treated by a man 
of genius, after the manner of Shakespeare^* which undoubted- 

* The compliment here piiid to Shakespeare \s ]\x%\\\- niciitcil; and how 
well he could have managed the story of the Alaid of Orlcuns, had he taken 
the incidents as St. Pierre has stated them, antl written witli the piirtiality of 
a Frcnciiman, may be ascertained by the masterly touches which he actually 
lias bestowed ou this distinguiehca character, in kis First Part of ifenry VI. 



328 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

ly he would not have failed to do had Joan of Arc been an Eng- 
lish-woman, might be wrought up into a patriotic Drama ; in 
order that this illustrious shepherdess may become with us the 
patroness of War, as Saint Genevieve is that of Peace ; I would 
have the representation of her tragedy reserved for the perilous 
situations in which the State might happen to be involved, and 
then exhibited to the people, as they display, in similar cases, 

It may afford some amusement to compare the above prose sketch by our 
Author, with the poetical painting of our immortal Bard, in the Drama now 
mentioned. I take the liberty to transcribe only the scene in wliich the au- 
dience is prepared for her entrance, and that in which she actually makes 
her appearance. For the rest, the Reader is referred to the Play itself. — H. H. 

Enter the Bastard of Orleans to the Dauphin, Alencon, and 
Reignier. 

Baift. Where's the Prince Dauphin ? I have news for him. 

Dau. Bastard of Orleans, thrice welcome to us. 

Bast. Methlnks your looks are sad, your cheer appall'd ; 
Hath the late overthrow wrought this offence ? 
Be not dismay'd, for succour is at hand : 
A holy maid hither with me I bring. 
Which, by a vision sent to her from Heaven, 
Ordained is to raise this tedious siege. 
And drive the English forth tlie bounds of France 
The spirit of deep prophecy she hath, 
Exceeding the nine Sybils of old Rome ; 
AVhat's past, and what's to come, she can descry. 
Speak, shall I call her in ? Believe my words. 
For they are certain and infallible. 

Dau. Go, call her in : But first, to try her skill, 
Reignier, stand thou as Dauphin in my place : 
Question her proudly, let thy looks be stern ; 
By this means shall we sound what skill she hath. 

Enter io.\s la Pucelle. 

Reig. Fair maid, is't thou will do these wond'rous feats ? 

Pucel. Rcig-nier, is't thou that thinkest to beguile me ? 
Where is the Dauphin ? — Come, come from behind ! 
I know thee well, though never seen before. 
Tie not amazed, there's nothing hid from me : 
In private will 1 talk with thee apart ; — 
^tand back, you Lords, and give us leave awhile. 

lieig. She takes upon her bravely at first dash. 

Pucel. Dauphin, I i;m by birth a shepherd's daughter, 
My wit untrain'd in any kind of art. 
Heaven, and oui- Lady gracious, halb it pleas'd 



STUDY XIII. 329 

to the people of Constantinople, the standard of Mahomet ; and 
I have no doubt that, at sight of her innocence, of her services, 
of her misfortunes, of the cruelty of her enemies and of the hor- 
rors of her execution, our people, in a transport of fur)' would 
exclaim : " War, war with the English !" * 

Such means as these, though more powerful than draughts for 
the militia, and than either pressing or tricking men into the 

To shine on my contemptible estate : 

Lo, whilst I waited on my tender lambs, 

And to Sun's parching heat display'd my cheeks, 

God's mother deigned to appear to me ; 

And, in a vision full of majesty, 

Will'd me to leave my base vocation. 

And free my country from calamity : 

Her aid she promis'd and assur'd success : 

In complete glory she reveal'd herself; 

And, whereas I was black and swart before. 

With those clear rays which she infus'd on me. 

That beauty am I blest with, which you see on mc. 

Ask me what question thou canst possible. 

And I will answer unpremeditated : 

My courage try by combat if thou dar'st. 

And thou shalt find that I exceed my sex. 

Resolve on this : Thou slialt be fortunate 

If thou receive me for thy warlike mate. 



— Assign'd I am to be the English scourge. 
This night the siege assuredly I'll raise : 
Expect Saint Martin's Summer, halcyon days, 
Since 1 have enter'd tlius Into these wars, 
tilory is like a circle In the water. 
Which never ceases to enlarge itself, 
'Till by broad spreading it disperse to nought 
With IL-nrifa death the English circle ends ; 
Dispersed are the glories it included. 
Now am I like that proud insulting ship. 
Which Cxsar and his fortune bare at once. 



• God forbid I should mean to rouse a spirit of animosity in our people a- 
gainst the English, now so worthy of all our esteem. But as tlieir Writers, 
and even their Government, have In more instances than one, descended to 
exhibit odious representations of us on th( ir stage, I was willing to slicw 
them how easily we could make reprisals. Rulher, may the genius of f'-ne- 
lon whicli they prize so higidy, that one of iheh- most ami ible fine wi-iiers. 
Lord Lt/Uhton, exalts it above that of Plato, one day unite our hearts and 
minds ! 

Vol. II. T t 



J30 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

service, are still insufficient to form real citizens. We are ac- 
customed by them to love virtue and our country, only when 
our heroes are applauded on the theatre. Hence it comes to 
pass, that the greatest part even of persons of the better sort 
are incapable of appraising an action till they see it detailed in 
some journal, or moulded into a drama. They do not form a 
judgment of it after their own heart, but after the opinion of 
another ; not as it is in reality, and in it's own place, but as 
clothed with imagery, and fitted to a frame. They delight in 
heroes when they are applauded, powdered and perfumed ; but 
were they to meet with one pouring out his blood in some ob- 
scure comer, and perishing in unmerited ignominy, they would 
not acknowledge him to be a hero. Every one would wish to 
be the Alexander of the opera, but no one the Alexander in the 
city of the Mallians.* 

Patriotism ought not to be made too frequently the subject of 
scenic representation. A heroism ought to be supposed to ex- 
ist which braves death, but which is never talked of. In order 
therefore to replace the people, in this respect, in the road of 
Nature and of Virtue, they should be made to serve as a spec- 
tacle to themselves. They ought to be presented with realities 
and not fictions ; with soldiers and not comedians ; and if it be 
impossible to exhibit to them the terrible spectacle of a real en- 
gagement, let them see at least a representation of the evolu- 
tions and the vicissitudes of one, in military festivals. 

The soldiery ought to be united more intimately with the 
Nation, and their condition rendered more happy. They are 
but too frequently the subjects of contention in the provinces 
through which they pass. The spirit of corps animates them to 
such a degree, that when two regiments happen to meet in the 
same city, an infinite number of duels is generally the conse- 
quence. Such ferocious animosities are entirely unknown in 
Prussian and Russian regiments, which I consider as in many 
respects the best troops in Europe. The King of Prussia has 
contrived to inspire his soldiers, not with the spirit of corps 
which divides them, but with the spirit of country which unites 
them. This he has been enabled to accomplish by conferring 
on them most of the civil employments in his kingdom, as the 

* See Plutarclis Life of Alexander. 



STUDY XIII. 331 

recompense of military services. SucV\ arc the political ties 
by which he attaches them to their country. The Russians em- 
ploy only one, but it is still more powerful, I mean Religion. 
A Russian soldier believes that to serve his sovereign is to serve 
God. He marches into the field of battle like a neophyte to 
martyrdom, in the full persuasion that if he falls in it he goes 
directly to paradise. 

I have heard M. de V'lllebois^ Grand Master of the Russian 
artillery, relate, that the soldiers of his corps, who served in a 
battery in the affair of Zornedorff, having been mostly cut off, 
the few who remained, seeing the Prussians advance with bayo- 
nets fixed, unable to make any farther resistance, but determin- 
ed not to fly, embraced their guns, and suffered themselves to 
be all massacred, in order to preserve inviolate the oath which 
they are called upon to take when received into the artillery, 
namely never to abandon their cannon. A resistance so perti- 
nacious stripped the Prussians of the victory which they had 
gained, and made the King of Prussia acknowledge that it was 
easier to kill the Russians than to conquer them. This heroic 
intrepidity is the fruit of Religion. 

It would be a very difficult matter to restore this power to its 
proper elasticity among the French soldiery, who are formed in 
part of the dissolute youth of our great towns. The Russian 
and Prussian soldiers are draughted from the class of the pea- 
santry, and value themselves upon their condition. With us on 
the contrary a peasant is terrified lest his son should be obliged 
to go for a soldier. Administration on its part contributes to- 
ward the increase of this apprehension. If there be a single 
blackguard in a village, the deputy takes care that the black ball 
shall fall upon him, as if a regiment were a galley for criminals. 

I once composed on this subject a memorial which suggested 
proposals of a remedy for these disorders, and for the prevent 
tion of desertion among our soldiers ; but like many other things 
of the same sort it came to nothing. The principal means of 
reform which I proposed, were a melioration of the condition 
of the soldiery, as in Prussia, by holding up the prospect of 
civil employments. These with us are infinite in number ; and, 
in order to prevent the irregularities into M'hich they are thrown 
bv a life of celibacy, I proposed to grant them permission to 



332 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

marry, as most of the Russian and Prussian soldiers do.* This 
method, so much adapted to the reformation of manners, would 
farther contribute toward conciliating our provinces to each 
other, by the marriages which regiments would contract in their 
continual progress from place to place. They would strengthen 
the bands of national aifection from North to South ; and our 
peasantry would cease to be afraid of them, if they saw them 
marching through the country as husbands and fathers. If the 
soldiery are sometimes guilty of irregularities, to our military 
institutions the blame must be imputed. I have seen others un- 
der better discipline, but I know of none more generous. 

I was witness to a display of humanity on their part, of which 
I doubt whether any other soldiery in Europe would have been 
capable. It was in the year 1 760, in a detachment of our army 
then in Germany, and an enemy's country, encamped hard by 
an inconsiderable city called Stadberg. I lodged in a miserable 
village occupied by the head-quarters. There were in the poor 
cottage where I and two of my comrades had our lodgings, five 
or six women, and as many children, who had taken refuge 
there, and who had nothing to eat, for our army had foraged 
their coi-n, and cut down their fruit-trees. We gave them some 
of our provisions ; but what we could spare was a small matter 
indeed, considering both their numbers and their necessities. 
One of them was a young woman big with child, who had three 
or four children beside. I observed her go out every morn- 
ing, and return some hours after, with her apron full of slices 
of brown bread. She strung them on packthreads, and dried 

* I could likewise wish that the wives of sailors might he permitted to g-o 
to sea with their husbands ; they would prevent on ship-board m.ore than one 
species of irreg'ularity. Besides they mig-ht be usefully engaged in a variety 
of employments suitable to their sex, such as dressmg the victuals, washing 

the linen, mending the sails, and the like They might, in many cases, 

co-operate in the labours of the ship's crew. They are much less liable to be 
affected by the scurvy, and by various other disorders, than men are. 

The project of embarking women will no doubt appear extravagant to per- 
sons who do not know that there are, at least, ten thousand women who na- 
vigate the coasting vessels of Holland ; who assist on deck in working the 
ship, and manage the lielm as dexterously as any man. A handsome woman 
woidd undoubtedly prove the occasion of much mischief on board a French 
ship ; but women, such as I have been describing, hardy and laborious, are 
cxccechngly proper on the contiary to prevent or remedy many kinds of mis- 
cliief, which are already but too prev^ent in a sea life. 



STUDY XIII. 333 

them in the chimney like mushrooms. I had her questioned 
one day by a servant of ours, who spoke German and French, 
where she found that provision, and why she put it through that 
process. She replied, that she went into the camp to solicit alms 
among the soldiers ; that each of them gave her a piece of his 
ammunition-bread, and that she dried the slices in order to pre- 
serve them ; for she did not know where to look for a supply 
after we were gone, the country being utterly desolated. 

A soldier's profession is a perpetual exercise of virtue, from 
the necessity to which it constantly subjects the man to submit 
to privations innumerable, and frequently to expose his life. It 
has Religion therefore for it's principal support. The Russians 
keep up the spirit of it in their national troops, by admitting 
among them not so much as one foreign soldier. The King of 
Prussia on the contrary has accomplished the same purpose by 
receiving into his, soldiers of every religion ; but he obliges 
every one of them exactly to observe that which he has adopted. 
I have seen, both at Berlin and at Potsdam, every Sunday 
morning, the officers mustering their men on the parade about 
eleven o'clock, and then filing oft' with them in separate detach- 
ments, Calvinists, Lutherans, Catholics, every one to his own 
church, to worship God in his own way. 

I could wish to have abolished among us the odier causes of 
division, which lay one citizen under the temptation, that he 
may live himself, to wish the hurt or the death of another. Our 
politicians have multiplied without end these sources of hatred, 
nay have rendered the State an accomplice in such ungracious 
sentiments, by the establishment of lotteries, of tontines, and of 
annuities. " So many persons," say they, " have died this year ; 
" the State has gained so much." Should a pestilence come, and 
sweep off one half of the people, the State would be wonderfully 
enriched ! Man is nothing in their e}es ; gold is all in all. Their 
art consists in reforming the vices of Society by violences offer- 
ed to Nature : and, what is passing strange, they pretend tc 
act after her example. " It is her intention,'-' they gravely tell 
you, '* that every species of being should subsist only by the 
" ruin of other species. Particular evil is general good." By 
such barbarous and erroneous maxims are Princes misled. 
These Laws have no existence in Nature, except between spe- 
cies which are opposite and inimical. They exist not in the 



334 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

same species of animals, which live together in a state of Society, 
The death of a bee most assuredly never tended to promote the 
prosperity of the hive. Much less still can the calamity and 
death of a man be of advantage to his Nation, and to Mankind, 
the perfect happiness of which must consist in a complete har- 
mony between its members. We have demonstrated in another 
place, that it is impossible the slightest evil should befal a sim- 
ple individual, without communicating the impression of it to 
the whole body politic. 

Our rich people entertain no doubt that the good things of the 
lower orders will reach them, as they enjoy the productions of 
the arts which the poor cultivate ; but they participate equally 
in the ills which the poor suffer, let them take what precautions 
they will to secure themselves. Not only do they become the 
victims of their epidemical maladies, and of their pillage, but of 
their moral opinions, which are ever in a progress of deprava- 
tion in the breasts of the wretched. They start up like the 
plagues which issued from the box of Pandora^ and in defiance 
of armed guards, force their way through fortresses and castle- 
walls, and fix their residence in the heart of tyrants. In vain 
do they dream of personal exemption from the ills of the vulgar ; 
their neighbours catch the infection, their servants, their chil- 
dren, their wives, and impose the necessity of abstinence from 
every thing, in the very midst of their enjoyments. 

But when, in a Societ}', particular bodies are constantly con- 
verting to their own profit the distresses of others, they per- 
petuate these very distresses, and multiply them to infinit}'. It 
is a fact easily ascertained, that wherever advocates and phy- 
sicians peculiarly abound, law-suits and diseases there likewisfe 
are found in uncommon abundance. Though there be among 
them men of the best dispositions, and of the soundest intellect, 
they do not set their faces against irregularities which are bene- 
ficial to their corps. 

These inconveniences are by no means desperate ; I am able 
to quote instances to this effect, which no sophistry can invali- 
date. On my entering into the service of Russia, the first 
month's revenue of my place was stopped, as a complete in- 
demnification for the expense attending the treatment of every 
kind of malady with which I might be attacked ; and this in- 
cluded, together with myself, my servants, and my family, if I 



STUDY XIII. 335 

should happen to marry ; and extended to every possible ex- 
pense of Physician, Surgeon and Apothecary. There was 
farther stopped for the same object, a small sum, amounting to 
one, or one and a half per cent, of my appointments : tliis was to 
have been paid annually j and every step higher I might have 
risen, I was to have given an additional month's pay of that 
superior rank. This is the complete amount of the tax upon 
officers, in consideration of which they and their families are 
entitled to every kind of medical advice and assistance under 
whatever indisposition. 

The Physicians and Surgeons of every corps have at the 
same time a sufficiently ample revenue arising from these pay- 
ments. I recollect that the Physician of the corps in which I 
served had an annual income of a thousand roubles, or five 
thousand livres (about two hundred guineas), and little or no- 
thing to do for it ; for as our maladies brought him nothing 
they were of very short duration. As to the soldiers, if my 
recollection is accurate, they are medically treated without any 
defalcation of their pay. The grand Dispensary belongs to the 
Emperor. It is in the city of Moscow, and consists of a mag- 
nificent pile of building. The medicines are deposited in vases 
of porcelain, and are always of the very best quality. They are 
thence distributed over the rest of the Empire at a moderate 
price, and the profit goes to the Crown. There is not the 
slightest ground to apprehend imposition in the conduct of this 
business. The persons employed in the preparation and dis- 
tribution are men of ability, who have no kind of interest in 
adulterating them, and who, as they rise in a regular progres- 
sion of rank and salary, are actuated with no emulation but 
that of discharging their duty with fidclitv.* 

• The insatiable thirst of gold and luxury might be allayed in the greatest 
part of our citizens, by presenting' tliem with a great number of these poli- 
tical perspectives. They constitute the charm of petty conditions, by dis- 
playing to them the attractions of infinity, the sentiment of which, as we have 
seen, is so natural to the heart of Man. It is by means of these, that mecha- 
nics and small shop-keepers are much more powerfully attached, by mode- 
rate profits, to their contracted spheres, enlivened by hope, than the rich 
and great arc to lofty situations, the term of which is before them. The pro- 
cess which passes in the headof tlie little, is sometliing similar to tlic milk- 
maid's train of thought in the fable. With the price of this milk I will buy 
f:pg;s ; egg's will give me chicks ; those chicks will grow up to hens ; I will 



336 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

The example of Peter the Great challenges Imitation; and 
the order which he has established among his troops, with re- 
spect to Physicians and Apothecaries, might be extended all 
over the kingdom, not only in the line of the medical profes- 
sion, though even this would bring an immense increase of re- 
venue to the State, but might also be usefully applied to the 
profession of the Law. It is greatly to be wished that Attor- 
neys, Advocates, and Judges were paid by the State, and scat- 
tered over the whole kingdom, not for the purpose of arguing 
causes, but of settling them by reference. These arrangements 
might be extended to all descriptions of profession which sub- 
sist on the distress of the Public : then the whole body of the 
citizens, finding their repose and their fortune in the happiness 
of the State, would exert themselves to the uttermost to main- 
tain it. 

These causes, and many others, divide among us all the dif- 
ferent classes of the Nation. There is not a single province, 
city, village, but what distinguishes the province, city, village 
next to it, by some injurious and insulting epithet. The same 
remark applies to the various ranks and conditions of Society. 
Divide fe? imperci^ Divide and govern, say our modern Politi- 
cians. This maxim has ruined Italy, the country from whence 
it came. The opposite maxim contains much more truth. The 
more united citizens are the more powerful and happy is the 
Nation which they compose. At Rome, at Sparta, at Athens, 
a citizen was at once advocate, senator, pontiff, edile, husband- 
man, warrior, and even seaman. Observe to what a height of 
power those republics advanced. Their citizens were however 
far inferior to us in respect of general knowledge, but they were 
instructed in two great Sciences of which we are ignorant, 
namely the love of the Gods and of their Country. With these 
sublime sentiments they were prepared for every thing. Where 

sell my poultry, and buy a lamb, and so on. The pleasure which they en- 
joy, in puvsuin ■ those endless progressions, is the sweet illusion that carries 
them thro: gh their labours ; and it is sj real, that when they happen to ac- 
cumulate a fortune, and are able to live m ease and affluence, their health 
gradually declines, and most of them terminate heir days in languor and 
melancholy. Modern Politicians, re ertthen to Nat ;re ! Ihe sweetest mu- 
sic is out emitted from flutes made of gold and silver, but from those vvJiich 
are constructed of simple reeds. 



STUDY XIII. 33? 

'chey are wanting Man is good for nothing. With all our en- 
cyclopedic literature, a great man with us, even in point of ta- 
lents, would be but the fourth part at most of a Greek or a 
Roman. He would distinguish himself much more in supporting 
the honour of his particular profession, but very little in main- 
taining the honour of his country. 

It is our wretched political constitution which profluces in 
the State so many different centres. There was a time when we 
talked of our being republicans. Verily if we had not a King 
we should live in perpetual discord. Nay, how many Sove- 
reigns do we make of one single and lawful Monarch ! Every 
corps has its own, who is not the Sovereign of the Nation, 
How many projects are formed, and defeated, in the King's 
name ! The King of the waters, and of the forests, is at variance 
with the King of the bridges and highways. The King of the 
colonies sanctions a plan of improvement, the King of the fi- 
nances refuses to advance the money. Amidst these various con- 
flicts of paramount authority, nothing is executed. The real 
King, the King of the People js not served. 

The same spirit of division prevails in the Religion of 
Europe. What mischief has not been practised in the name of 
God! All acknowledge the One Supreme l^eing, who created 
the Heavens and the Earth, and Man ; but each kingdom has 
it's own, who must be worshipped according to a certain ritual. 
To this God it is that each Nation in particular offers thanks- 
giving, on occasion of every battle. In his name it was that the 
poor Americans were exterminated. The God of Europe is 
clothed with terror, and devoutly adored. But where are the 
altars of the God of Peace, of the Father of Mankind, of Him 
who proclaims the glad tidings of the Gospel ? Let our modern 
Politicians trumpet their own applause on the happy fruits of 
those divisions, and of an education dictated by ambition. Hu- 
man life so fleeting and so wretched, passes away in this unre- 
mitting strife ; and while the Histoiians of every Nation, well 
paid for their .trouble, are extolling to Heaven the victories of 
their Kings and of their Pontiffs, the People are addressing 
themselves, in tears, to the God of the Human Race, and asking 
of Him the way in which they ought to walk, in order to reach 
his habitation at length, and to live a life of virtue and happi- 
ness upon the Earth. 

Vol. II. U u 



338 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

The cause of the ills which we endure, I repeat it, is to be found 
in our vain-glorious Education ; and in the wretchedaess of the 
commonalty, which communicates a powerful influence to every 
new opinion, because they are ever expecting from novelty some 
mitigation of the pressure of inveterate woes. But as soon as 
they perceive that their opinions become tyrannical, in their turn, 
they presently renounce them : and this is the origin of their 
levity. Whenever they can find the means of living in ease and 
abundance, they will be no longer subject to these vicissitudes, 
as we have seen in the instance of the Dutch, who print and sell 
the theological, political, and literary controversies ol all Europe, 
without being themselves in the least affected, as to their civil 
and religious opinions ; and when our public education shall be 
reformed, the people will enjoy the happy and uninterrupted 
tranquillity of the nations of Asia. 

Before I proceed to suggest my ideas on this subject, I take 
the liberty to propose some other means of general union. I 
shall consider myself as amply recompensed for the labour which 
my researches have cost me, if so much as a single one of my 
hints pf reform shall be adopted. 

OF PARIS. 

It has already been observed, that few Frenchmen are at- 
tached to the place of their birth. The greatest part of those 
who acquire fortune in foreign countries, on their return, settle 
at Paris. This upon the whole is no great injury to the State. 
The slighter their attachment to their Country, the easier it is 
to fix them at Paris. One single point of union is necessary to 
a great Nation. Every country which has acquired celebrity 
by it's patriotism, has likewise fixed the centre of it in their Ca- 
pital, and frequently in some particular monument of that Capi- 
tal ; the Jews had theirs at Jerusalem, and it's Temple ; the Ro- 
mans, theirs at Rome, and the Capitol; the Lacedemonians, 
theirs at Sparta, and in citizenship. 

I am fond of Paris. Next to a rural situation, and a rural 
situation such as I like, I give Paris the preference to any thing 
I have ever seen in the World. I love that city not only on ac- 
count of it's happy situation, because all the accommodations of 
human life are there collected, from its being the centre of all 
the powers of the kingdom, and for the other reasons which 



STUDY XIII. 53^ 

made Michael Montaigne delight in it, but because it is the 
asylum and the refuge of the miserable. There it is that the 
provincial ambitions, prejudices, aversions, and tyrannies, are 
lost and annihilated. There a man may live in obscurity and 
liberty. There it is possible to be poor without being despised. 
The afflicted person is there decoyed out of his misery by the 
public gaity; and the feeble there feels himself strong in the 
strength of the multitude. Time was when, on the faith of our 
political Writers, I looked upon that city as too great. But I 
am now far from thinking that it is of sufficient extent, and suf- 
ficiently majestic, to be the capital of a kingdom so flourishing. 

I could wish that, our sea-ports excepted, there were no city 
in France but Paris ; that our provinces were covered only with 
hamlets, and villages, and sub-divided into small farms ; and 
that, as there is but one centre in the kingdom, there might like- 
wise be but one Capital. Would to God it were that of all 
Europe, nay of the whole Earth ; and that, as men of all nations 
bring thither their industry, their passions, their wants, and 
their misfortunes, it should give them back, in fortune, or en- 
joyment, in virtues, and in sublime consolations, the reward of 
that asylum which they resort thither to seek ! 

Of a truth our mind, illuminated as it is at this day with such 
various knowledge, wants the nobly comprehensive grasp which 
distinguished our fore-fathers. Amidst their simple and Gothic 
manners, they entertained the idea, I believe, of rendering it 
ihe Capital of Europe. The traces of this design are visible in 
Lhe names which most of their establishments bear, such as the 
Scottish College, the Irish, that of the Four Nations j and in the 
foreign names of the Royal household-troops. Behold that no- 
ble monument of antiquity, the church of Notre-Dame, built 
more than six hundred years ago, at a time when Paris did not 
contain one fourth part of the inhabitants with which it is now 
peopled ; it is more vast, and more majestic than any thing ot 
the kind which has been since reared. I could wish that this 
spirit of Philij) the august, a Prince too litde known in our 
Irivolous age, might still preside over its establishments, and 
extend the use of them to all Nations. Not that but men of 
every Nation are welcome there, for their money ; our enemies 
themselves may live quietly in it, in the very midst of war, pro* 
\ idcd thev are rich ; but above all, I could wish to render her 



340 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

good and propitious to her own children. I do not know of any 
advantage which a Frenchman derives from having been bora 
within her walls, unless it be, when reduced to beggary, that of 
ha\ ing it in his power to die in one of her hospitals. Rome 
bestowed very different privileges on her citizens ; the most 
wretched among them there enjoyed privileges and honours 
more ample than were communicated even to Kings, in alliance 
with the Republic, 

It is pleasure which attracts the greatest part of strangers to 
Paris ; and if we trace those vain pleasures up to their source, 
we shall find that they proceed from the misery of the People, 
and from the easy rate at which it is there possible to procure 
girls of the town, spectacles, modish finery, and the other pro- 
ductions which minister to luxury. These means have been 
highly extolled by modern politicians. I do not deny that they 
occasion a considerable influx of money into a country ; but at 
the long run, neighbouring nations imitate them ; the money of 
strangers distippears, but their debauched morals remain. See 
what Venice has come to, with her mirrors, her pomatums, her 
courtezans, her masquerades, and her carnival. The frivolous 
arts on which we now value ourselves have been imported from 
Italy, whose feebleness and misery they this day constitute. 

The noblest spectacle which any Government can exhibit h 
that of a people laborious, industrious and content. We are 
taught to be well-read in books, in pictures, in algebra, in he- 
raldry, and not in men. Connoisseurs are rapt with admiration 
at sight of a Savoyard's head painted by Greuze; but the Savoy- 
ard himself is at the corner of the street, speaking, walking, 
almost frozen, to death, and no one minds him. That mother 
with her children around her form a charming group ; the pic- 
ture is invaluable: the originals are in a neighbouring garret 
without a farthing whereupon to subsist. Philosophers ! ye are 
transported with delight, and well vou may, in contemplating 
the numerous families of birds, of fishes, and of quadrupeds, 
the instincts of which are so endlessly varied, and to which one 
and the same Sun communicates life. Examine the families of 
men of M'hich th.e inhabitants of the Capital consist, and you 
would be disposed to say, that each of them had borrowed it's 
manners, and it's industry, from some species of animal ; so 
varied are their employments. 



STUDY XIII. 341 

Walk out to yonder plain at the entrance of the city ; behold 
that general officer mounted on his prancing courser: he is re- 
viewing a body of troops : see, the heads, the shoulders, and 
the feet of his soldiers, arranged in the same straight line ; the 
whole embodied corps has but one look, one movement. He 
makes a sign, and in an instant a thousand bayonets gleam in 
the air ; he makes another, and a thousand fires start from that 
rampart of iron. You would think, from their precision, that a 
single fire had issued from a single piece. He gallops round 
those smoke-covered regiments, at the sound of drums and 
fifes, and you have the image of Jup'iter^^ eagle armed with 
the thunder, and hovering round Etna. A hundred paces from 
thence, behold an insect among men. Look at that puny chim- 
ney-sweeper, of the colour of soot, with his lantern, his cymbal, 
and his leathern greaves: he resembles a black-beetle. Like 
the one which in Surinam is called the lantern-bearer, he shines 
in the night, and moves to the sound of a cymbal. This child, 
those soldiers, and that general, are equally men ; and while 
birth, pride, and the demands of social life establish infinite dif- 
ferences among them, Religion places them on a level : she 
humbles the head of the mighty, by shewing them the vanity of 
their power ; and she raises up the head of the unfortunate, by 
disclosing to them the prospects of immortality: she thus brings 
back all men to the equality which Nature had established at 
their birth, and which the order of Society had disturbed. 

Our Sybarites imagine they have exhausted every possible 
mode of enjoyment. Our moping, melancholy old men consi- 
der themselves as useless to the World ; they no longer perceive 
any other perspective before them but death. Ah ! paradise 
and life are still upon the earth for him who has the power of 
doing good. 

Had I been blessed with but a moderate degree of fortune, I 
would have procured for myself an endless succession of new 
enjoyments. Paris should have become to me a second Mem' 
phis. It's immense population is far from being known to us. 
I would have had one small apartment in one of it's suburbs, 
adjoining to the great road ; another at the opposite extremity 
on the banks of the Seine, in a house shaded with willows and 
popl trs ; another in one of it's most frequented streets ; a fourth 
in the mansion of a gardener, surrounded with apricot-treeSj 



342 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

figs, coleworts, and lettuces ; a fifth in the avenues of the city, 
in the heart of a vineyard, and so on. 

It is an easy matter undoubtedly to find every where lodgings 
of this description, and at an easy rate ; but it may not be so 
easy to find persons of probity for hosts and neighbours. There 
is it must be admitted, much depravity among the lower orders ; 
but there are various methods which may be employed to find 
out such as are good and honest ; and with them I commence 
my researches after pleasure. A new DiogeneSy 1 am set out 
in search of men. As I look only for the miserable, I have no 
occasion to use a lantern. I get up at day-break, and step to 
partake of a first mass, into a church still but half illumined by 
the day-light : there I find poor mechanics come to implore 
God's blessing on their day's labour. Piety, exalted above 
all respect to Man, is one assured proof of probity : cheerful 
submission to labour is another. I perceive, in raw and rainy 
weather, a whole family squat on the ground, and weeding the 
plants of a garden : * here again are good people. The night 
itself cannot conceal virtue. Toward midnight the glimmering 
of a lamp announces to me, through the aperture of a garret, 
some poor widow prolonging her nocturnal industry, in order 
to bring up, by the fruits of it, her little ones who are sleeping 
around her. These shall be my neighbours and my hosts. I 
announce myself to them as a wayfaring man, as a stranger, 
who wishes to breathe a little in that vicinity. I beseech them 
to accommodate me with part of their habitation, or to look out 
for an apartment that will suit me in the neighbourhood. I 
offer a good price, and am domesticated presently. 

I am carefully on my guard, in the view of securing the at- 
tachment of those honest people, against giving them money 
for nothing, or by way of alms ; I know of means much more 

* Persons employed in llie culture of" vegetables are in general a better 
sort of people. Plants have their theology impressed upon them. I one day 
however fell in with a husbandman who was an atheist. It is true he had. 
not picked up his opinions in the fields, but from books. He seemed to be 
exceedingly well satisfied with his attainments in knowledge. I could not 
help saying to him at parting : " You have really gained a mighty point, in 
" employing the researches of your understanding to render } ourself mise- 
'« rablc !" 

In the hj-pothetical examples hereafter adduced, there is scarcely any one 
article of invention merely, except the good which I did not do. 



STUDY XIII. J43 

honourable to gain their friendship. I order a greater quantitj^ 
of provision than is necessary for my own use, and the overplus 
turns to account in the family ; I reward the children for any 
little services which they render me : I carry the whole house- 
hold, of a holiday, into the country, and sit down with them to 
dinner upon the grass ; the father and mother return to to\vn 
in the evening well refreshed, and loaded with a supply for the 
rest of the week. On the approach of Winter, I clothe the 
children with good woollen stuffs, and their little warmed limbs 
bless their benefactor, because my haughty vain-glorious boun- 
ty has not frozen their heart. It is the god-father of their 
little brother who has made them a present of the clothes. 
The less closely you twist the bands of gratitude, the more 
firmly do they contract of themselves. 

I enjoy not only the pleasure of doing good, and of doing it 
in the best manner, I have the farther pleasure of amusing and 
instructing myself. We admire in books the labours of the 
artisan, but books rob us of half our pleasure, and of the grati- 
tude which we owe them. They separate us from the People, 
and they impose upon us, by displaying the arts with excessive 
parade, and in false lights, as subjects for the theatre, and for 
the magic-lanthern. Besides, there is more knowledge in the 
head of an artisan than in his art, and more intelligence in his 
hands than in the language of the Writer who translates him. 
Objects carry their own expression upon them : Rein verba se- 
(juuntur (words follow things). The man of the commonalty 
has more than one way of observing and of feeling, which is 
not a matter of indifference. While the Philosopher rises as 
high into the clouds as he possibly can, the other keeps con-^ 
tentedly at the bottom of the valley, and beholds very different 
perspectives in the World. Calamity forms him at the length 
as well as another man. His language purifies with years ; and 
I have frequently remarked that there is very little differ- 
ence, in point of accuracy, of perspicuity, and of simplicity, 
between the expressions of an aged peasant and of an old cour- 
tier. Time effaces from their several styles of language, and 
from their manners, the rusticity and the refinement which So- 
ciety had introduced. Old-age, like infancy, reduces all men 
to a level, and gives them back to Nature. 



3U STUDIES OF NATURE. 

In one of my encampments, I have a landlord who has mAde 
the tour of the Globe. He has been seaman, soldier, buccanier. 
He is sagacious as Ulysses, but more sincere. When 1 have 
placed him at table with me, and made him taste my wine, he 
gives me a relation of his adventures. He knows a multitude 
of anecdotes. How many times was he on the very point of 
making his fortune, but failed ! He is a second Ferdinand 3Ien- 
dez Pinto* The upshot of all is, he has got a good wife and 
lives contented. 

My landlord, in another of my stations, has lived a very dif- 
ferent life ; he scarcely ever was beyond the walls of Paris, and 
but seldom beyond the precincts of his shop. But though he 
has not travelled over the World, he has not missed his share of 
calamity by staying at home. He was very much at his ease ; 
he had laid up, by means of his honest savings, fifty good Louis 
d'or, when one night his wife and daughter thought proper to 
elope carrying his treasure with them. He had almost died 
with vexation. Now, he says, he thinks no more about it ; and 
cries as he tells me the stor}% I compose his mind by talking 
kindly to him; I give him employment; he tries to dissipate 
his chagrin by labour ; his industry is an amusement to me : I 
sometimes pass complete hours in looking at him, as he bores, 
and turns pieces of oak as hard as ivory. 

Now and then I stop in the middle of the city before the 
shop of a smith ; and then I am transformed into the Lacede- 
monian Liches, at Tegeum, attending to the processes of forging 
and hammering iron. The moment that the man perceives me 
attentive to his work, I will soon acquire his confidence. I am 
not, as Liches was, looking for the tomb of Orestes /* but I have 
occasion to employ the art of a smith, if not for myself, for the 
benefit of some one else. I order this honest fellow to manu- 
facture for me some solid articles of household furniture, which 
I intend to bestow as a monument to preserve my memory in 
bome poor family. I wish besides to purchase the friendship of 
an artificer ; I am perfectly sure that the attention which he 
sees I pay to his work, will induce him to exert his utmost skill 
in executing it. I thus hit two marks with one stone. A rich 
man, in similar circumstances, would give alms and confer no 
obligation on any one. 

* See Herodotus, book i. 



STUDY XIII. 345 

y. y. Rousseau told me a little anecdote of himself, relative 
to the subject in hand. " One day," said he, " I happened to 
" be at a village festival, in a gentleman's country seat not far 
" from Paris. After dinner the company betook themselves to 
" walking up and down the fair, and amused themselves with 
" throwing pieces of small money among the peasantry to have 
" the pleasure of seeing them scramble and fight in picking 
" them up. For my own part, following the bent of my solitary 
" humour, I walked apart in another direction. I observed a 
" little girl selling apples, displayed on a flat basket, which she 
*' carried before her. To no purpose did she extol the excel- 
" lence of her goods ; no customer appeared to cheapen them. 
" How much do you ask for all your apples, said I to her ?— 
*' All my apples ? replied she, and at the same time began to 
*' reckon with herself. — Threepence, Sir, said she.—I take them 
*' at thatprice, returned I, on condition you will go and distri- 
" bute them among those little Savoyards whom you see there 
"below: this was instantly executed. The chiidr-. n were 
" quite transported with delight at this unexpected regale, as 
" was likewise the little merchant at bringing her wares to so 
" good a market. I should have conferred much less pleasure 
" on them had I given them the money. Every one was satis- 
" fied and no one humbled." The great art of doing good con- 
sists in doing it judiciously. Religion instructs us in this im- 
portant secret, in recommending to us to do to others what we 
wish should be done to us. 

I sometimes betake myself to the great road, like the ancient 
Patriarchs, to do the honours of the City to strangers who may 
happen to arrive. I recollect the time when I myself was a 
stranger in strange lands, and the kind reception which I met 
with when far from home. I have frequently hoard the nobi- 
lity of Poland and Germany complain of our grandees. They 
allege that French travellers of distinction are treated in these 
countries with unbounded hospitality and attention ; but that 
they, on visiting France in their turn, are almost entirely ne- 
glected. They are invited to one dinner on their arrival, and 
to another when' preparing to depart : and this is the whole 
amount of our hospitality. For my own part, incapable of ac- 
quitting the obligations of this kind which I lie under to the 
(ireat of foreign countries, I repay them to their commonaltv. 

Vol. II. X X 



S46 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

I perceive a German travelling on foot ; I accost him, I in- 
vite him to stop and take a little repose at my habitation. A 
good supper and a glass of good wine dispose him to commu- 
nicate to me the occasion of his journey. He is an officer; he 
has served in Prussia and in Russia ; he has been witness to the 
partition of Poland. I interrupt him to make my enquiries af- 
ter Mareschal Count Munichy the Generals de Villebois and du 
Bosquety the Count de Munchio^ my friend M. de Taubenheim^ 
Prince Xatorinski, Field Mareschal of the Polish Confederation, 
whose prisoner I once was. Most of them are dead, he tells me ; 
the rest are superannuated, and retired from all public employ- 
ment. Oh ! how melancholy it is, I exclaim, to travel from 
one's country", and to make acquaintance with estimable men 
abroad whom we are never to see more ! Oh ! how rapid a 
career is human life ! Happy the man who has it in his power 
to employ it in doing good ! My guest favours me with a short 
detail of his adventures: to those I pay the closest attention, 
from their resemblance to my own. His leading object was to 
deserve well of his fellow creatures, and he has been rewarded 
by them with calumny and persecution. He is under misfor- 
tunes ; he has come to France to put himself under the Queen's 
protection : he hopes a great deal from her goodness. 1 con- 
firm his hopes, by the idea which public opinion has conveyed 
to me of the character of that Princess, and by that which Na- 
ture has impressed on her physiognomy. I am pouring the 
balm of consolation, he tells me, into his heart. Full of emo- 
tion, he presses my hand. My cordial reception of him is a 
happy presage of the rest ; he could have met with nothing so 
friendly even in his own country. Oh ! what pungent sorrow 
may be soothed to rest by a single word, and by the feeblest 
mark of benevolence ! 

I remember that one day I found, not far from the iron gate 
de Caillot, at the entrance into the Elysian Fields, a young wo- 
man sitting with a child in her lap, on the brink of a ditch. She 
was handsome, if that epithet may be applied to a female over- 
whelmed in melancholy. I walked into the sequestered alley 
where she had taken her station ; the moment that she perceived 
me she looked the other way : her timidity and modesty fixed 
my eyes on her- I remarked that she was very decently dres- 
sed, and wore very white linen ; but her gov/n and neck hand- 



STUDY XIII. 347 

Icerchief were so completely darned over, that you would have 
f5aid the spiders had spun the threads. I approached her with 
the respect which is due to the miserable ; I bowed to her, and 
she returned my salute with an air of gentility, but with resen^e. 
I then endeavoured to engage her in conversation by talking of 
the wind and the weather : her replies consisted of monosylla- 
bles only. At length I ventured to ask if she had come abroad 
for the pleasure of enjoying a walk in the country : upon this 
she began to sob and weep without uttering a single word. I 
sat down by her, and insisted, with all possible circumspec- 
tion, that she would disclose to me the cause of her distress. She 
said to me : " Sir, my husband has just been involved in a 
" bankruptcy at Paris, to the amount of five thousand livres, 
*' (2081. 6s. 8d.) ; I have been giving him a convoy as far as 
*' Neuilly : he is gone, on foot, a journey of sixty leagues hence, 
" to try to recover a little money which is due to us. I have 
*' given him my rings and all my other little trinkets, to defray 
" the expense of his journey ; and all that I have left in the 
" world, to support myself and my child, is a single shilling 
" piece." — " What parish do you belong to. Madam i"' said I. 
— " St. Eustache," replied she. — " The rector," I subjoined, 
" passes for a very charitable, good man." — " Yes, Sir," said 
she, " but you need not to be informed, that there is no charity 
" in parishes for us miserable Jews." At these words, her 
tears began to flow more copiously, and she arose to go on her 
way. I tendered her a small pittance toward her present relief 
which I besought her to accept at least as a mark of my good-will. 
She received it, and returned me more reverences and thanks, 
and loaded me with more benedictions, than if I had re-esta- 
blished her husband's credit. How many delicious banquets 
might that man enjoy, who would this way layout three or four 
hundred pounds a year ! 

My different establishments, scattered over the Capital and 
the vicinity, variegate my life most innocently and most agree- 
ably. In Winter, I take up my residence in that vyhich is expo- 
sed completely to the noon-day Sun ; in Summer, I remove to 
that which has a northern aspect, and hangs over the cooling 
stream. At another time, I pitch my tent in the neighbourhood 
of the Rue d'Artois, among piles of hewn stone, where I see 
palaces rising around me, pediments decorated with sphynxes 



348 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

domes, kiosques. I take care never to enquire to whom they 
belong. Ignorance is the mother of pleasure and of admiration. 
I am in Egypt, at Babylon, in China. To-day I sup under an 
acacia, and am in America : to-morrow I shall dine in the midst 
of a kitchen-garden, under an arbour shaded with lilach ; and I 
shall be in France. 

But, I shall be asked. Is there nothing to be feared in such a 
style of living ! May I meet the final period of my days while 
engaged in the practice of virtue ! I have heard many a history 
of persons who perished in hunting matches, in parties of plea- 
sure, while travelling by land and by water ; but never in per- 
forming acts of beneficence. Gold is a powerful commander of 
respect with the commonalty. I display wealth sufficient to se- 
cure their attention, but not enough to tempt any one to plunder 
me. Besides the police of Paris is in excellent order. I am very 
circumspect in the choice of my hosts ; and if I perceive that I 
have been mistaken in my selection, the rent of my lodging is 
paid beforehand, and I return no more. 

On this plan of life I have not the least occasion for the en- 
cumbrances of furniture and servants. With what tender so- 
licitude am I expected in each of my habitations ! What satis- 
faction does my arrival inspire ! What attention and zeal do my 
entertainers express to outrun my wishes ! I enjoy among them 
the choicest blessings of Society, without feeling any of the in- 
conveniences. No one sits down at my table to backbite his 
neighbour, and no one leaves it with a disposition to speak un- 
kindly of me. I have no children ; but those of my landlady are 
more eager to please me than their own parents. I have no 
wife : the most sublime charm of love is to devise and accom- 
plish the felicity of another. I assist in the formation of happy 
marriages, or in promoting the happiness of those which are al- 
ready formed. I thus dissipate my personal languor, I put my 
passions upon the right scent, by proposing to them the noblest 
attainments at which they can aim upon the earth* I have drawn 
nigh to the miserable with an intention to comfort them, and 
from them perhaps I shall derive consolation in my turn. 

In this manner it is in your power to live, O ye great ones of 
the earth ! and thus might you multiply your fleeting days in 
the land through which you are merely travellers. Thus it is 
that you may learn to know men j and form no longer, with 



STUDY XIII. 349 

your own Nation, a foreign race, a race of conquerors, living on 
the spoils of the country which you have subdued. Thus it is 
that, issuing from your palaces, encircled with a crowd of hap- 
py vassals, who are loading you with benedictions, you might 
present the image of the ancient Patricians, a name so dear to 
the Roman people. You are every day looking out for some 
new spectacle ; there is no one which possesses so much the 
charm of novelty as the happiness of mankind. You wish for 
objects that are interesting :. there is no one more interesting 
than the sight of the families of the poor peasantry, diffusing 
fruitfulness over your vast and solitar}' domains, or superannu- 
ated soldiers, who have deserved well of their country, seeking 
refuge under the shadow of your wiiigs. Your compatriots are 
surely much better than tragedy heroes, and more interesting 
than the shepherds of the comic opera. 

The indigence of the commonalty is the first cause of the phy- 
sical and moral maladies of the rich. It is the business of ad- 
ministration to provide a remedy. As to the maladies of the 
soul resulting from indigence, I could wish some palliatives at 
least might be found. For this purpose, I would wish to have 
formed, at Paris, some establishment similar to those which hu- 
mane Physicians and sage Lawyers have there instituted for re- 
medying the ills of body and of fortune ; I mean dispensaries 
of consolation, to which an unfortunate wretch, secure of secrecy, 
nay of remaining unknown, might resort to disclose the cause of 
his distress. We have, I grant, confessors and preachers, for 
whom the sublime function of comforting the miserable seems 
to be reserved. But confessors are not always of the same dis- 
position with their penitents, especially when the penitent is 
poor and not much known to them. Nay there are many con- 
fessors who have neither the talents nor the experience requi- 
site to the comforter of the afflicted. The point is not to pro- 
nounce absolution to the man who confesses his sins, but to as- 
sist him in bearing up under those of another, which lie much 
heavier upon him. 

As to preachers, their sermons are usually too vague, and 
too injudiciously applied to the various necessities of their hear- 
ers. It would be of much more importance to the Public, if they 
would announce the subject of their intended discourses, rather 
than display the titles of their ecclesiastical dignities. The\ 



350 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

will declaim against avarice to a prodigal, or against profusion 
to a miser. They will expatiate on the dangers of ambition to 
a young man in love ; and on those of love to an ancient female 
devotee. They will inculcate the duty of giving alms on the 
persons who receive them ; and the virtue of humility on a poor 
water-porter. There are some who preach repentance to the 
unfortunate, who promise the joys of paradise to voluptuous 
courts, and who denounce the flames of hell against starving 
villages. I have known, in the country, a poor female peasant 
driven to madness by a sermon of this cast. She believed her- 
self to be in a state of damnation, and lay along speechless and 
motionless. We have no sermons calculated to cure languor, 
sorrow, scrupulousness of conscience, melancholy, chagrin, and 
so many other distempers which prey upon the soul. Besides, 
how many circumstances change, to every particular auditor, 
the nature of the pain which he endures, and render totally use- 
less to him all the parade of a trim harangue. It is no easy 
matter to find out, in a soul wounded and oppressed with timi- 
dity, the precise point of it's grief, and to apply the balm and 
the hand of the good Samaritan to the sore. This is an art 
Icnown only to minds endowed with sensibility, who have them- 
selves suffered severely, and which is not always the attainment 
of those who are virtuous only. 

The people feel the want of this consolation ; and finding no 
man to whom they can make application for it, they address 
themselves to stones. I have sometimes read with an aching 
heart, in our churches, billets affixed by the wretched to the 
corner of a pillar, in some obscure chapel. They represented 
ihe cases of unhappy women abused by their husbands ; of young 
people labouring under embarrassment : they solicited not the 
money of the compassionate, but their prayers. They were upon 
the point of sinking into despair. Their miseries were incon- 
ceivable. Ah! if men who have themselves been acquainted 
with grief, of all conditions, would unite in presenting to the 
sons and daughters of affliction their experience and their sensi- 
bility, more than one illustrious sufferer would come and draw 
from them those consolations, which all the preachers, and books, 
and philosophy in the World, are incapable to administer. All 
that the poor man needs in many cases, in order to soothe hh 
woj is a person into whose ear he can pour out his complaint. 



STUDY XIII. 351 

A Society composed of men such as I have fondly imagined 
to myself, would undertake the important task of eradicating the 
vices and the prejudices of the populace. They would endea- 
vour, for example, to apply a remedy to the barbarity Avhich im- 
poses such oppressive loads on the miserable horses, and which 
cruelly abuses them in other respects, while eveiy street of the 
city rings with the horrible oaths of their drivers. They would 
likewise employ their influence with the rich, to take pity in their 
turn upon the human race. You see, in the midst of excessive 
heats, the hewers of stone exposed to the meridian Sun, and to 
the burning reverberation of the white substance on which they 
labour. Hence these poor people are frequently seized with 
ardent fevers, and with disorders in the eyes which issue in blind- 
ness. At other times they have to encounter the long rains 
and pinching cold of Winter, which bring on rheums and con- 
sumptions. Would it be a very costly precaution for a master- 
builder, possessed of humanity, to rear in his work-yard a move- 
able shed of matting or straw, supported by poles, to serve as 
a shelter to his labourers? By means of a fabric so simple they 
might be spared various maladies of body and of mind ; for most 
of them, as I have observed, are in this respect actuated by a 
false point of honour ; and have not the courage to employ a 
screen against the burning heat of the Sun, or against rainy wea- 
ther, for fear of incurring the ridicule of their companions. 

The people might farther be inspired with a relish for moral- 
ity, without the use of much expensive cookery. , Nay every 
appearance of disguise renders truth suspected by them. I have 
many a time seen plain mechanics shed tears at reading some of 
our good romances, or at the representation of a tragedy. They 
afterwards demanded if the story which had thus affected them 
was really true ; and on being informed that it was imaginary, 
they valued it no longer ; they were vexed to think that they 
had thrown away their tears. The rich must hav^e fiction in 
order to render morality palatable, and morality is unable to 
render fiction palatable to the poor ; because the poor man still 
expects his felicity from truth, and the rich hope for theirs only 
from illusion. 

The rich however stand in no less need than the populace of 
moral affections. These are, as we have seen, the moving springs 
of all the human passions. To no purpose do they pretend to 



J53 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

refer the plan of their felicity to physical objects ; they sooii lose 
all taste for their castles, their pictures, their parks, when in- 
stead of sentiment they possess merely the sensations of them. 
This is so indubitably true, that if, under the pressure of their 
languor, a stranger happens to arrive to admire their luxury, all. 
their powers of enjoyment are renovated. They seem to have 
consecrated their life to an indefinite voluptuousness ; but pre- 
sent to them a single ray of glory, in the very bosom of death 
itself, and they are immediately on the wing to overtake it. Of- 
fer them regiments, and they post away after immortality. It is 
the moral principle therefore which must be purified and directed 
in Man. It is not in vain then that Religion prescribes to us the 
practice of virtue, which is the moral sentiment by way of ex- 
cellence, seeing it is the road to happiness both in this World 
and that which is to come. 

The societ}^ of which I have been suggesting the idea, would 
farther extend it's attentions into the retreats of virtue itself. I 
have remarked that about the age of forty-five, a striking revo- 
lution takes place in most men, and, to acknowledge the truth, 
that it is then they degenerate, and become destitute of prin- 
ciple. At this period it is that women transform themselves 
into men, according to the expression of a celebrated Writer, 
in otlier words, that they become completely depraved. This 
fatal revolution is a consequence of the vices of our education, 
and of the manners of Society. Both of these present the pros- 
pect of human happiness only toward the middle period of life, 
in the possession of fortune and of honours. When we have 
painfully scrambled up this steep mountain, and reached it's 
summit, about tjie middle of our course, we re-descend with 
our eyes turned back toward youth, because we have no per- 
spective before us but death. Thus the career of life is divided 
into two parts, the one consisting of hopes, the other of recol- 
lections ; and we have laid hold of nothing by the way but il- 
lusions. 

The first, at least, support us by feeding desire ; but the 
others overwhelm us by inspiring regret only. This is the rea- 
son that old men are less susceptible of virtue than young peo- 
ple though they talk much more about it, and that they are 
much more melancholy among us than among savage Nations. 
Had they been directed by Religion and Nature, they must 



STUDY XIII. 533 

have rejoiced in the approaching of their latter end, as vessels 
just ready to enter the harbour. How much more wretched 
are those who, having devoted their youth to virtue, seduced 
by that treacherous commerce with the world, look backward, 
and regret the pleasures of youth which they knew not how to 
prize ! The empty glare which encompasses the wicked dazzles 
their eyes ; they feel their faith staggering, and they are ready 
to exclaim with Brutus : — " O Virtue ! thou art but an empty 
" name." Where shall we find books and preachers capable of 
restoring confidence to them in tempests which have shaken 
even the Saints ? They transfix the soul with secret wounds, 
and torment it with gnawing ulcers, which shrink from disco- 
very. They are beyond all possibility of relief, except from a 
society of virtuous men who have been themselves tried through 
all the combinations of human wo, and who, in default of the 
ineffectual arguments of reason, may bring them back to the 
sentiment of virtue, at least by that of their friendship. 

There is in China, if I am not mistaken, an establishment 
similar to that whi&h I am proposing. At least certain Travel- 
lers, and -among others Ferdinand Mendez Ptnto^ make mention 
of a house of-^ercy, which takes up and pleads the cause of 
the poor and the oppressed, and which, in an infinite number of 
instances, goes forth to meet the calls of the miserable, much 
farther than our charitable Ladies do. The emperor has be- 
stowed the most distinguished privileges on it's members ; and 
the Courts of Justice pay the utmost deference to their re- 
quests. Such a society employed in acting well, would merit 
among us at least prerogatives as high as those whose attention 
is restricted to speaking well ; and by drawing forward into 
view the virtues of our own obscure citizens, would deserve at 
the least as highly of their Country, as those who do nothing 
but retail the sentences of the sages, or what is not less com- 
mon, the brilliant crimes of Antiquity. 

Scrupulous care ought to be taken not to give to such an as- 
sociation the form of an academy or Fraternity. Thanks to 
our mode of education, and to our manners, every thing that is 
reduced to form among us, corps, congregation, sect, party, is 
generally ambitious and intolerant. If the men which compose 
them draw nigh to a light which they themselves have not kind- 

Vol. II. Yv 



354 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

led, it is to extinguish it ; if they touch upon the virtue of ano- 
ther, it is to blight it. Not that the greatest part of the mem- 
bers of those bodies are destitute of excellent qualities indi- 
vidually ; but their incorporation is good for nothing, for this 
reason simply, that it presents to them centres different from 
the common centre of Country. What is it that has rendered 
a word so dear to humanity, theatrical and vain ? What sense 
is now-a-days affixed to the term charity, the Greek name of 
which, signifies attraction, grace, loveliness ? Can any thing be 
more humiliating than our parochial charities, and than the hu- 
manity of our Philosophers ? 

I leave this project to be unfolded and matured by some good 
man, who loves God and his fellow-rreat\ires, and who per- 
forms good actions in the way that Religion prescribes, without 
letting his left hand know what his right hand doth. Is it thea 
a matter of so much difficulty to do good ? Let us pursue the 
opposite scent to that which is followed by the ambitious and 
the malignant. They employ spies to furnish them with all the 
scandalous anecdotes of the day ; let us employ ours in disco- 
vering, and bringing to light, good works performed in secret. 
They advance to meet men in elevated situations, to range 
themselves under their standards, or to level them with the 
ground ; let us go forth in quest of virtuous men in obscurity, 
that we may make them our models. They are furnished with 
trumpets to proclaim their own actions, and to decry those of 
others ; let us conceal our own, and be the heralds of other 
men's goodness. There is such a thmg as refinement in vice j 
let us carry virtue to perfection. 

I am sensible that I may be apt to ramble a little too far. But 
should I have been so happy as to suggest a single good idea to 
one more enlightened than myself; should I have contributed 
to prevent, some day in time to come, one poor wretch in de- 
spair from going to drown himself, or in a fit of rage from 
knocking out his enemy's brains, or in the lethargy of languor 
from going to squander his money and his health away among 
loose women ; I shall not have scribbled over a piece of paper in 
vain. 

Paris presents many a retreat to the miserable, known by the 
name of hospitals. May Heaven reward the charity of those 



STUDY XIII. 35.5 

who have founded them, and the still greater virtue of those 
persons of both sexes who superintend them ! But first, without 
adopting the exaggerated ideas of the populace, who are under 
the persuasion that these houses possess immense revenues, it is 
certain, that a person well known, and an adept in the science of 
public finance, having undertaken to furnish the plan of a recep- 
tacle for the sick, found on calculation that the expense of each 
of them would not exceed eight-pence half-penny a day : that 
they might be much better provided on these terms, and at an 
easier rate, than in the hospitals. For my own part, I am clear- 
ly of opinion that these same pence, distributed day by day in 
the house of a poor sick man, would produce a still farther sav- 
ing, by contributing to the support of his wife and children. A 
sick person of the commonalty has hardly need of any thing 
more than good broths ; his family might partly subsist on the 
meat of which they were made. 

But hospitals are subject to many other inconveniences. Ma- 
ladies of a particular character are there generated, frequently 
more dangerous than those which the sick carry in with them. 
They are sufficiently known, such especially as are denominated 
hospital-fevers. Besides these, evils of a much more serious 
nature, those which affect morals, are there communicated. A 
person of extensive knowledge and experience has assured me, 
that most of the criminals who terminate their days on a gibbet, 
or in the galleys, are the spawn of hospitals. This amounts to 
what has been already asserted, that a corps of whatever de- 
scription is always depraved, especially a corps of beggars. I 
could wish therefore, that so far from collecting and crowding 
together the miserable, they might be provided for, under the 
inspection of their own relations, or entrusted to poor families 
who would take care of them. 

Public prisons are necessary ; but it is surely desirable that 
the unhappy creatures there immured should be less miserable 
while under confinement. Justice undoubtedly in depriving them 
of liberty proposes not only to punish, b t to reform their moral 
character. Excess of misery and evil communications can 
change it only from bad to worse. Experience farther demon- 
strates, that there it is the wicked acquire the perfection of de- 
pravity. One who went in only feeble and culpable, comes out 
an accomplished villain. A3 this subject has been treated pro- 



356 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

foundly by a celebrated Writer, I shall pursue it no farther. I 
shall only beg leave to observe, that there is no way but one to 
reform men, and that Is to render them happier. How many 
who were living a life of criminality in Europe, have recovered 
their character in the West-India Islands to which they were 
transported ! They are become honest men there, because they 
have there found more liberty and more happiness than they en- 
joyed in their native country. 

There is another class of Mankind still more worthy of com- 
passion, because they are innocent : I mean persons deprived of 
the use of reason. They are shut up, and they seldom fail of 
consequence to become more insane than they were before. I 
shall on this occasion remark, that I do not believe there is 
through the whole extent of Asia, China however excepted, a 
single place of confinement for persons of this description. The 
Turks treat them with singular respect ; whether it be that Ma- 
homet himself was occasionally subject to mental derangement, 
or whether from a religious opinion they entertain, that as soon 
as a madman sets his foot into a house the blessing of God enters 
it with him. They delay not a moment to set food before him 
and caress him in the tenderest manner. There is not an in- 
stance known of their having injured any one. Our madmen 
on the contrary are mischievous, because they are miserable. 
As soon as one appears in the streets, the children, themselves 
already rendered miserable by their education, and delighted to 
find a human being on whom they can vent their malignit}' with 
safety, pelt him with stones, and take pleasure in working him 
up into a rage. I must farther observe that there are no mad- 
men among savages ; and I could not wish for a better proof 
that their political constitution renders them more happy than 
polished Nations are, as mental derangement proceeds only 
from excessive chagrin. 

The number of insane persons under confinement is with us 
enonnously great. There is not a provincial town, of any con- 
siderable magnitude, but what contains an edifice destined to 
this use. Their treatment in these is surely an object of commi- 
seration, and loudly calls for the attention of Government, con- 
sidering that if after all they are no longer citizens, they are 
still men, and innocent men too. When I was pursuing my 
studies at Caen, I recollect having seen in the madmens' ward, 



STUDY XIII. 357 

some shut up in dungeons, where they had not seen the light 
for fifteen years. I one evening accompanied into some of those 
dismal caverns the good Cure de St. Martin, whose boarder I 
then was, and who had been called to perform the last duties of 
his office to one of those poor wretches, on the point of breath- 
ing his last. He was obliged, as well as I, to stop his nose all 
the time he was by the dying man ; but the vapour which exha- 
led from his dunghill was so infectious, that my clothes retained 
the smell for more than two months, nay my veiy linen, after 
having been repeatedly sent to the washing. I could quote 
traits of the mode of treatment of those miserable objects which 
would excite horror. I shall relate only one which is still fresh 
in my memory. 

Some years ago, happening to pass through I'Aigle, a small 
town in Normandy, I strolled out about sunset to enjoy a little 
fresh air. I perceived on a rising ground a convent most de- 
lightfully situated. A monk, who stood porter, invited me in 
to see the house. He conducted me through an immense court, 
in which the first thing that struck my eye was a man of about 
forty years old, with half a hat on his head, who advanced directly 
upon me, saying, " Be so good as stab me to the heart ; be so 
" good as stab me to the heart." The monk who was my guide, 
said to me, " Sir, don't be alarmed ; he is a poor captain who 
" lost his reason on account of an unmilitary preference that 
" passed upon him in his regiment." 

" This house then," said I to him, " serves as a receptacle 
" for lunatics :" " Yes," replied he, " I am Superior of it." He 
walked me from court to court, and conducted me into a small 
enclosure in which were several little cells of mason work, and 
where we heard persons talking with a good deal of earnestness. 
There we found a canon in his shirt, with his slioulders quite 
exposed, conversing with a man of a fine figure who was seated 
by a small table in front of one of those little cells. The monk 
went up to the poor canon, and with his full strength applied a 
blow of his fist to the wretch's naked shoulder, ordering him at 
the same time to turn out. His comrade instantly took up the 
monk, and emphatically said to him : " Man of blood, you are 
*' guilty of a very cruel action. Do not you see this poor crea- 
" ture has lost his reason ?" The monk, struck dumb for tHc 
moment, bit his lips, and threatened him with his eyes. But 



358 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

the other without being disconcerted, said to him : " I know t 
^' am your victim ; you may do with me whatever you please." 
Then, addressing himself to me, he shewed me his two wrists 
galled to the quick by the iron manacles with which he had been 
confined. 

" You see. Sir," said he to me, " in what manner T am treat- 
*' ed !" I turned to the monk with an expression of indignation 
at a conduct so barbarous. He coolly replied: "Oh! I can put 
" an end to all his fine reasoning in a moment." I addressed 
however a few words of consolation to the unfortunate man, who, 
looking at me with an air of confidence, said, " I think. Sir, I 
" have seen you at St. Hubert, at the house of M. the Mareschal 
" de BroglioP " You must be mistaken, Sir," replied I, " I ne- 
" ver had the honour of being at the Mareschal de Broglio's^* 
Upon that he instituted a process of recollection respecting the 
different places where he thought he had seen me, with circum- 
stances so accurately detailed, and clothed with such appear- 
ances of probability, that the monk nettled at his well-merited 
reproaches, and at the good sense which he displayed, thought 
proper to interrupt his conversation, by introducing a discourse 
about marriage, the purchase of horses, and so on. The mo- 
ment that the chord of his insanity was touched his head was 
gone. On going out the monk told me that this poor lunatic was 
a man of very considerable birth. Some time after I had the 
pleasure of being informed, that he had found means to escape 
from his prison, and had recovered the use of his reason. 

A great many physical remedies are employed for the cure of 
madness ; and it frequently proceeds from a moral cause, for it 
is produced by chagrin. Might there not be a possibility to em- 
ploy, for the restoration of reason to those disordered beings, 
means directly opposed to those which occasioned the loss of 
reason ; I mean mirth, pleasure, and above all the pleasures of 
music ? We see, from the instance of Saul^ and many others of 
a similar nature, what influence music possesses for re-establish- 
ing the harmony of the soul. With this ought to be united 
treatment the most gentle, and care to place the unhappy pa- 
tients, when visited with paroxysms of rage, not under the re- 
straint of fetters, but in an apartment matted round, where the) 
could do no mischief either to themselves or others. I am per- 
suaded that by employing such humane precautions^ numbers 



STUDY XIII. J59 

might be restored, especially if they were under the charge of 
persons who had no interest in perpetuating their derangement; 
as is but too frequently the case, with respect to families who 
are enjoying their estates, and houses of restraint where a good 
board is paid for their detention. It would likewise be proper, 
in my opinion, to commit the care of men disordered in their 
understanding to females, and that of females to men, on account 
of the mutual sympathy of the two sexes with each other. 

I would not wish that there should be in the kingdom any one 
art, craft or profession, but whose final retreat and recompense 
should be at Paris. Among the different classes of citizens who 
practise these, and of whom the greater part is little known in 
the capital, there is one, and that very numerous, which is not 
known at all there, though one of the most miserable, and that 
to which of all others the rich are under the strongest obliga- 
tions, I mean the seamen. These hardy and unpolished beings 
are the men who go in quest of fuel to their voluptuousness to 
the very extremities of Asia, and who are continually exposing 
their lives upon our own coasts, in order to find a supply of deli- 
cacies for their tables. Their conversation is at least as sprightly 
as that of our peasantry, and incomparably more interesting, 
from their manner of viewing objects, and from the singularity 
of the countries which they have visited in the course of their 
voyages. At the recital of their many-formed disasters, and of 
the tempests which threatened them, while employed in convey- 
ing to you objects of enjoyment from every region of the Globe, 
ye happy ones of the earth ! your own repose may be rendered 
morf; precious to you. By contrasts such as these your felicity 
will be heightened. 

I know not whether It was for the purpose of procuring for 
himself a pleasure of this nature, or to give an enlivening sea 
air to the park of Versailles, that Louis XIV. planted a colony 
of Venetian gondoliers on the great canal which fronts the pa- 
lace. Their descendants subsist there to this day. This estab- 
lishment, under a better direction, might have furnished a very 
desirable and useful retreat to our own seamen. But that great 
King, frequently misled by evil counsellors, almost always car- 
ried the sentiment of his own glory beyond his own people. 
What a contrast would these hardy sons of the waves, bedaubed 
with pitch, their wind .nnd weather-beaten faces resembling sea- 



360 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

calves, arrived from Greenland, others from the coast of Guinea, 
have presented, with the marble statues, and verdant bowers of 
the park of Versailles ! Louis XIV. would oftener than once 
have derived from those blunt honest fellows, more useful in- 
formation, and more important truth, than either books, or even 
his marine ojfficers of the highest rank could have given him ; 
and on the other hand, the novelty of their characteristic sin- 
gularity, and that of their reflections on his own greatness, would 
have provided for him spectacles much more highly amusing 
than those which the wits of his Court devised for him, and at 
an enormous expense. Besides, what emulation would not the 
prospect of such preferments have kindled among our sailors ? 

I ascribe the perfection of the English Marine, in part at least, 
simply to the influence of their Capital, and from it's being in- 
cessantly under the eye of the Court. Were Paris a sea-port 
as London is, how many ingenious inventions, thrown away 
upon modes and operas, would be applied to the improvement 
of navigation ! Were sailors seen there even as currendy as sol- 
diers, a passion for the marine service would be more exten- 
sively diffused. The condition of seamen, become more inte- 
resting to the Nation and to it's rulers, would be gradually me- 
liorated ; and at the same time this would have a happy ten- 
dency to mitigate the brutal despotism of those who frequently 
maintain their authority over them, merely by dint of swearing 
and blows. It is a good, and an easily practicable piece of po- 
licy, to enfeeble vice by bringing men nearer to each other, and 
by rendering them more happy. Our country gentlemen did 
not give over beating the;ir hinds, till they saw that this useful 
part of Mankind had become interesting objects in books, and 
on the theatre. 

Not that I wish for our seamen an establishment similar to 
that of the Hotel des Invalides. I am charmed with the archi- 
tecture of that monvmient, but I pity the condition of it's inhabi- 
tants. Most of them are dissatisfied, and always murmering, 
as any one may be convinced who will take the trouble to con- 
verse v.^ith them : I do not believe there is any foundation for 
this ; but experience demonstrates that men formed into a corps 
sooner or later degenerate, and are always unhappy. It would 
be wiser to follow the Laws of Nature, and to associate them 
by families. I could M'ish that the practice of the English were 



STUDY XIII. 361 

observed and copied, by settling; our superannuated seamen on the 
ferries of rivers, on board all those little barges which traverse 
Paris, and by scattering them along the Seine, like tritons, to 
adorn the plains : we should see them stemming the tides of 
our rivers in wherries under smack-sails, luffing as they go; 
and there they would introduce methods of Navigation more 
prompt, and more commodious, than those hitherto known and 
practised. 

As to those whom age or wounds may have totally disabled 
for service, they might be suitably accommodated and provided 
for, in an edifice similar to that which the English have reared 
at Greenwich for the reception of their decayed seamen. But 
to acknowledge the truth, the State, I am persuaded, would find 
it a much more economical plan to allow them pensions, and 
that these very seamen would be much better disposed of in 
the bosom of their several families. This however need not 
prevent the raising at Paris a majestic and commodious monu- 
ment, to serve as a retreat for those brave veterans. The capi- 
tal sets little value upon them because it knows them not j but 
there are some among them who, by going over to the enemy, 
are capable of conducting a descent on our Colonies, and even 
upon our own coasts. Desertion is as common among oixr ma- 
riners as among our soldiers, and their desertion is a much 
greater loss to the State, because it requires more time to form 
them, and because their local knowledge is of much higher im- 
portance to an enemy than that of our cavaliers, or of our foot- 
soldiers. 

What I have now taken the liberty to suggest on the sjibject 
of our seamen, might be extended to all the other estates of the 
kingdom without exception. I could wish that there were not 
a single one but what had it's centre at Paris, and which might 
not find there a place of refuge, a retreat, a little chapel. All 
these monuments of the different classes of citizens, which com- 
municate life to the body politic, decorated with the attributes 
peculiar to each particular craft and profession, would there 
figure with perfect propriety, and with most powerful effect. 

After having rendered the Capital a resort of happiness and 
of improvement to our own Nation, I would allure to it the 
men of foreign nations from every corner of the Globe. O ! 
ye Women, who regulate our destiny, how much ought you to 

Vol. II. Z z 



362 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

contribute towards uniting mankind, in a City where your cm* 
pire is unbounded ! In ministring to your pleasures do men em- 
ploy themselves over the face of the whole Earth. While you 
are engrossed wholly in enjoyment, the Laplander issues forth 
in the midst of storm and tempest to pierce with his harpooH 
the enormous whale, whose beard is to serve for stuffing to your 
robes : a man of China puts into the oven the porcelain out of 
which you sip your coffee, while an Arabian of Moka is busied 
in gathering the berry for you : a young woman of Bengal on 
tht banks of the Ganges is spinning your muslin, while a Rus- 
sian, amidst the forests of Finland, is felling the tree which is 
to be converted into a mast for the vessel that is to bring it 
home to you. 

The glory of a great Capital is to assemble within it*s walls 
the men of all Nations who contribute to it's pleasures. I 
should like to see at Paris, the Samoiedes with their coats of 
sea-calf-skin and their boots of sturgeon's hide ; and the black 
lolofs dressed in thtir waist-attire, streaked with red and blue, 
I could wish to see there the beardless Indians of Peru dressed 
in feathers from head to foot, strolling about undismayed in our 
public squares, around the statues of our Kings, mingled with 
stately Spaniards in whiskers and short cloaks. It would give 
me pleasure to see the Dutch making a settlement on the thirsty 
ridges of Montmartre ; and following the bent of their hydrau- 
lic inclination like the beavers, find the means of there construct* 
ing canals filled with water ; while the inhabitants of the banks 
of the Oroonoko should live comfortably dry, suspended over 
the lands inundated by the Seine, amidst the foliage of willows 
and alder-trees, 

I could wish that Paris were as large, and of a population as 
much diversified, as those ancient cities of Asia, such as Nine- 
veh and Suza, whose extent was so vast that it required three 
days to make the tour of them, and in which Ahasuerus beheld 
two hundred Nations bending before his throne. I could wish 
that every people on the face of the Earth kept up a corres- 
pondence with that city, as the members with the heart in the 
human body. What secret did the Asiatics possess to raise ci- 
ties so vast and so populous ? They are in all respects our elder 
brothers. They permitted all Nations to settle among them. 



STUDY XIII. 365 

Present men with liberty and happiness and you will attract 
them from the ends of the Earth. 

It would be much to the honour of his humanity if some 
great Prince would propose this question to the discussion of 
Europe : Whether the happiness of a people did not depend 
upon that of it's neighbours ? The affirmative clearly demonstra- 
ted, would level with the dust the contrary maxim, that of 3Ia- 
chiavel^ which has too long governed our European politics. It 
would be very easy to prove, in the first place, that a good un- 
derstanding with her neighbours would enable her confidently 
to disband those land and naval forces which are so burdensome 
to a Nation. It might be demonstrated, secondly, that every 
people has been a partaker in the blessings and the calamities of 
their neighbours, from the example of the Spaniards, who made 
the discovery of America, and have scattered the advantages 
and the evils of it over all the rest of Europe. This truth may 
be farther confirmed from the prosperity and greatness attained 
by those Nations who were at pains to conciliate the good-will 
of their neighbours, as the Romans did, who extended farther 
and farther the privileges of citizenship, and thereby in process 
of time consolidated all the Nations of Italy into one single State. 
They would undoubtedly have formed bat one single People of 
the whole Human Race, had not their barbarous custom of ex- 
acting the service of foreign slaves counteracted a policy so hu- 
mane. It might finally be made apparent, how miserable those 
Governments were which, however well constituted internally, 
lived in a state of perpetual anxiety, always weak and divided, 
because they did not extend humanity beyond the bounds of 
their own territory. Such were the ancient Greeks : such is in mo- 
dern times Persia, which has sunk into a state of extreme weak- 
ness, and into which it fell immediately after the brilliant reign 
©f Scha Ahhas^ whose political maxim it was to surround him- 
self with deserts ; his own country has at length become one 
like those of his neighbours. Other examples to the same pur- 
pose might be found among the powers of Asia, who receive 
the Law from handfuls of Europeans. 

Henry IV. had formed the celestial project of engaging all 
Europe to live in peace ; but his project was not sufficiently ex- 
tensive to support itself : war must have falKn upon Europe 
from the other quarters of the World. Our particular destinies 



364 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

are connected with those of mankind. This is an homage which 
the Christian Religion justly challenges, and which it alone me- 
rits. Nature says to you, love thyself alone ; domestic educa- 
tion says, love your family ; the national, love your country ; 
but Religion says, Love all Mankind without exception. She 
is better acquainted with our interests than our natural instinct 
is, or our parentage, or our politics. Human societies are not 
detached from each other like those of animals. The bees of 
France are not in the least affected by the destruction of the 
hives in America. But the tears of Mankind, shed in the New 
World, cause streams of blood to flow in the ancient Conti- 
nent ; and the war-whoop of a savage on the bank of a lake has 
oftener than once re-echoed through Europe, and disturbed the 
repose of her Potentates. The Religion which condemns love 
of ourselves, and which enjoins the love of Mankind, is not 
self-contradictory as certain sophists have alleged ; she exacts 
the sacrifice of our passions only to direct them toward the ge- 
neral felicity ; and by inculcating upon us the obligation of lov- 
ing all men, she furnishes us with the only real means of loving 
ourselves. 

I could wish therefore that our political relations with all 
the Nations of the World, might be directed toward a gracious 
reception of their subjects in the Capital of the kingdom. Were 
we to expend only a parf of what we lay out on foreign com- 
munications, we should be no great losers. The Nations of Asia 
send no Consuls nor Ministers, nor Ambassadors, out of the 
Country, unless in very extraordinary cases : and all the Na- 
tions of the Earth seek to them. It is not by sending Ambas- 
sadors in great state, and at a vast expense, to neighbouring Na- 
tions, that we conciliate or secure their friendship. In many 
cases our ostentatious magnificence becomes a secret source of 
hatred and jealousy among their grandees. The point is to give 
a kind reception to their subjects properly so called, the weak, 
the persecuted, the miserable. Our French refugees were the 
men who conveyed part of our skill, and of our power, to Prus- 
sia, and to Holland. How many unseen relations of commerce, 
and of national benevolence, have been formed upon the foun- 
dation of such graciousness of reception ! An honest German 
who retires into/Austria, after having made a little fortune in 
France, is the means of sending to us a hundred of his compa- 



STUDY XIII. 365 

triots, and disposes the whole canton in which he setdes to wish 
us well. By bonds like these national friendships are contract- 
ed, much better than by diplomatic treaties ; for the opinion of 
a Nation always determines that of the Prmce. 

After having rendered the city of men wonderfully happy, I 
would direct my attention to the embellishment and commodi- 
ousness of the city of stones. I would rear in it a multitude of 
useful monuments ; I would extend along the houses, arcades 
as in Turin, and a raised pavement as in London, for the accom- 
modadon of foot-passengers ; in the streets where it was prac- 
ticable, trees and canals as in Holland, for the facility of carriage; 
in the suburbs, caravanseries as in the cities of the East, for the 
entertainment, at a moderate expense, of travellers from foreign 
lands ; toward the centre of the city, markets of vast extent, 
and surrounded with houses six or seven stories high, for the 
reception of the poorer sort, who will soon be at a loss for a 
place where to lay their head. I would introduce a great deal of 
variety into their plans and decorations. In the circular sur- 
rounding space I would dispose temples, halls of justice, public 
fountains ; the principal streets should terminate in them. These 
markets, shaded with trees, and divided into great comparti- 
ments, should display in the most beautiful order all the gifts of 
Flora^ of Ceres^ and of Pomdna, I would erect in the centre 
the statue of a good King ; for it is impossible to place it in a 
situation more honourable to his memory, than in the midst of 
the abundance enjoyed by his subjects. 

I know of no one thing which conveys to me an idea more 
precise of the police of a city, and of the felicity of it's inhabi- 
tants, than the sight of it's markets. At Petersburg every 
market is parcelled out into sub-divisions destined to the sale of 
a single species of merchandise. This arrangement pleases at 
first glance, but soon fatigues the eye by it's uniformity. Peter 
the First was fond of regular forms, because they are favour- 
able to despotism. For my own part, I should like to see the 
most perfect harmony prevailing among our merchants, and the 
most complete contrasts among their wares. By removing the 
rivalities which arise out of commerce in the same sort of goods, 
those jealousies which are productive of so many quarrels would 
be prevented. It would give me pleasure to behold Abundance 



366 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

there pouring out the treasure of all her horns pellmell; phea- 
sants, fresh-cod, heath-cocks, turbots, pot-herbs, piles of oysters, 
oranges, wild-ducks, flowers, and so on. Perrpission should 
be granted to expose to sale there every species of goods what- 
ever ; and this privilege alone would be sufficient to destroy va- 
rious species of monopoly. 

I would erect in the city but few temples ; these few however 
should be august, immense, with galleries on the outside and 
within, and capable of containing on festival days the third part 
©f the population of Paris. The more that temples are multi- 
plied in a State 4he more is Religion enfeebled. This has the 
appearance of a paradox ; but look at Greece and Italy covered 
with church-towers, while Constantinople is crowded with 
Greek and Italian renegadoes. Independently of the political, 
and even religious causes which produce these national deprava- 
tions, there is one which is founded in Nature, the effects of 
which we have already recognised in the weakness of the hu- 
man mind. It is this, That affection diminishes in proportion 
as it is divided among a variety of objects. The Jews, so as- 
tonishingly attached to their religion, had but one single temple, 
the recollection of which excites their regret to this day. 

I would have amphitheatres constructed at Paris like those 
at Rome, for the purpose of assembling the People, and of treat- 
ing them from time to time with days of festivity. What a su- 
perb site for such an edifice is presented in the rising ground 
at the entrance into the Elysian Fields ! How easy would it have 
been to hollow it down to the level of the plain in form of an 
amphitheatre, disposed into ascending rows of seats covered 
with green turf simply, having it's ridge crowned with great 
trees, exalted on an elevation of more than fourscore feet : What 
a magnificent spectacle would it have been to behold an immense 
people ranged round and round, like one great family, eating, 
drinking, and rejoicing in the contemplation of their own felicity! 

All these edifices should be constructed of stone ; not in pet- 
ty-layers, according to our mode of building, but in huge blocks 
such as the Ancients em.ployed,* and as becomes a city that is- 

* And such as Savages employ. Travellers are astonished when they sur- 
vey in Peru the monuments of the ancient Incas, formed of vast irregidar 
stones perfectly fitted to each other.' 1 heir construction presents at first 
sight two great difiiculties : How could the Indians have transported those 



STUDY XIII. 367 

to last for ever. The streets and the public squares should be 
planted with great trees of various sorts. Trees are the real 
monuments of Nations. Time, which speedily impairs the 
Works of Man, only increases the beauty of those of Nature. 
It is to the trees that our favourite walk the Boulevards is in- 
debted for it's principal charm. They delight the eye by their 
verdure ; they elevate the soul to Heaven by the loftiness of 
their stems ; they communicate respect to the monuments which 
they shade by the majesty of their forms. They contribute, 

hug-e masses of stone ; and How did they contrive to adapt them so exactly 
to each other, notwithstanding- their irreg-ularity ? Our men of Science have 
first supposed a machinery propci- for the transportation of them ; as if there 
could be any machine more powerful than the arms of a whole people exert- 
ing themselves in concert. They next tell us, that the Indians g-ave them 
those irregular forms by dint of labour and industiy. This is a downrig-ht 
insult to the common sense of Mankind. Was it not much easier to cut them 
mto a regular tlian into an irregular shape ? 1 mj self was embarrassed in at- 
tempting a solution of this problem. At length having read in the Memoirs 
of Don Ulhu, and likewise in some other travellers, that there are found in 
many places of Peru beds of stone along the surface of the ground, separated 
by clefts and crevices, I presently comprehended the address of the ancient 
Peruvians. All they had to do was to remove, piece and piece, those hori- 
zontal layers of the quan-ies, and to place them in a perpendicular direc- 
tion, by moving the detached pieces close to each other. Thus they had 
a wall ready made which cost them nothing in the hewing. The natural ge- 
nius is possessed of resources exceedingly simple, but fiir superior to those 
of our arts. For example, the Savages of Canada had no cooking pots of 
metal previous to the arrival of the Europeans. They had however found 
means to supply tliis want, by hollowing the trunk of a tree with fire. But 
how did they contrive to set it a boiling, so as to dress a whole ox, which 
they frequently did ? 1 have applied to more than one pretended man of ge- 
nius for a solution of this difficulty, but to no purpose. As to myself, I was 
long puzzled, 1 acknowledge, in devising a method by which water might be 
made to boil in kettles made of wood, which were frequently large enough 
to contain several hundred gallons. Notliing however could be easier to Sa- 
vages : they heated pebbles and flints tiU they were rtd-liot, and cast them 
into the water in the pot, till it boiled. Consult Chumphiin* 

• This may be true. But the savages of Canada did not boil all their food 
" in kettles made of wood." Long before the arrival of the Europeans 
among Uiem, they discovered much ingenuity in forming kettles of eartli 
which they baked in the fire. In neatness, in durabiUty, &c., they were not 
infi 1 ior to the common eai-thern ware of the Europeans, and their descen- 
dants m America. I have seen many of these Indian kettles. Those^ the 
Creeks, and some other southern tribes, were much larger, and formed with 
more taste.— JB. S. 9. 



368 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

more than we are aware of, to rivet our attachment to the places 
which we have inhabited. Our memory fixes on them as on 
points of union which have secret harmonies with the soul of 
Man. They possess a commanding influence over the events of 
our life, like those which rise by the shore of the Sea, and which 
frequently serve as a direction to the pilot. 

I never see the linden tree but I feel myself transported into 
Holland ; nor the fir without representing to my imagination 
the forests of Russia. Trees frequently attach us to Country 
when the other ties which united us to it are torn asunder. I 
have known more than one exile who in old-age was brought 
back to his native village, by the recollection of the elm under 
the shade of which he had danced when a boy. I have heard 
more than one inhabitant of the Isle of France sighing after his 
Country under the shade of the banana, and who said to me ; 
*' I should be perfectly tranquil where I am could I but see a 
*' violet." The trees of our natal soil have a farther and most 
powerful attraction, when they are blended, as was the case 
among the Ancients, with some religious idea, or with the re- 
collection of some distinguished personage. Whole Nations 
have attached their patriotism to this object. With what vene- 
ration did the Greeks contemplate at Athens the olive-tree which 
Minerva had there caused to spring up, and on Mount Olympus, 
the wild-olive with which Hercules had been crowned ! Plutarch 
relates, that, when at Rome the fig-tree under which Romulus 
and Remus had been suckled by a wolf, discovered signs of de- 
cay from a lack of moisture, the first person who perceived it 
exclaimed. Water ! Water ! and all the people in consternation 
flew with pots and pails full of water to refresh it. For my 
part, I am persuaded, that though we have already far degene- 
rated from Nature, we could not without emotion behold the 
cherry tree of the forest, into which our good King Henry IV. 
clambered up, when he perceived the army of the Duke of May- 
enne filing off" to the bottom of the adjoining valley. 

A city, were it built completely of marble, would have to me 
a melancholy appearance, unless I saw in it trees and verdure :* 

* Trees are from their duration the real monuments of Nations ; and tlicy 
are farther their calendar, from the different seasons at which they send 
forth their leaves, theii' flowers, and their fruits. Savages have no other, 
and our own peasantry make frequent use of it. I met one day, toward the 



STUDY XIII. 369 

on the other hand a landscape, were it Arcadia, were it along 
the banks of the Alpheus, or did it present the swelling ridges 
of Mount Lyceum, would appear to me a wilderness, if I did 
not see in it at least one little cottage. The works of Nature 
and those of Man mutually embellish each other. The spirit 
of selfishness has destroyed among us a taste for Nature. Our 
peasantry see no beauty in our plains but there where they see 
the return of their labour. I one day met in the vicinity of the 
Abbey de la Trappe, on the flinty road of Notre Dame d'Apre, 
a country woman walking along with two large loaves of bread 
under her arm. It was In the month of May ; and the weather 
inexpressibly fine. " What a charming season it is !" said I to 
the good woman: " How beautiful are those apple trees in blos- 
" som ! How sweetly these nightingales sing in the woods !" — 
" Ah !" replied she, " I don't mind nosegays, nor these little 
"squallers! It is bread that we want." Indigence hardens the 
heart of the country people, and shuts their eyes. But the good 
folks of the town have no greater relish for Nature, because the 
love of gold regulates all their other appetites. If some of them 
set a value on the liberal arts, it is not because those arts imi- 
tate natural objects ; it is from the price to which the hand of 
great masters raises their productions. That man gives a thou- 
sand crowns for a picture of the country painted by Lorrain, 

end of Autumn, a country girl all in tears, looking about for a handkerchief 
which she had lost upon the great road. " Was your handkerchief very 
" pretty ?" said I to her. « Sir," replied she, « it was quite new ; I boug-ht 
" it last bean-time." Tt has long been my opinion, that if our historical epochs, 
•so loudly trumpeted, were dated by those of Nature, nothing more would 
be wanting to mark tiieir injustice, and expose them to ridicule. Were wc 
to read, for example, in our books of History, that a Prince Had caused part 
of his subjects to be massacred,, to render Heaven propitious to him, pre- 
< isely at the season when his kingdom was clothed with the plenty of har- 
^est ; or were we to read the relations of blood\- engagements, and of the 
l)ombardmcnt of cities, dated with the flowering of the violet, the first 
cream-cheese making, the sheep-marking season ; Would any other contrast 
1.0 neccssaiy to render tlie perusal of such histories detestable ? On the other 
liaud, such dates would communicate immortal graces to the actions of good 
I'nnccs, and would confound the blessings which they bestow<;d, witli those 
of Heaven.* 

• For a specimen of an Indian calendar, formed upon sucli circumstances 
as are alluded to by our author, T beP; leave to refer the reader to my Element, 
-fBotami, Part i, page 297, &C.~B. S. B 
Vol.. II. 3 ^ 



37Q STUDIES OF NATURE. 

who would not take the trouble to put his head out of the win- 
dow to look at the real landscape : and there is another who os- 
tentatiously exhibits the bust of Socrates in his study, who would 
not receive that Philosopher into his house were he in life, and 
who perhaps would not scruple to concur in adjudging him to 
death, were he under prosecution. 

The taste of our Artists has been corrupted by that of our 
trades-pt'ople. As they know that it is not Nature but their own 
skill which is prized, their great aim is to display themselves. 
Hence it is that they introduce a profusion of rich accessories 
into most of our monuments, while they frequently omit alto- 
gether the principal object. They produce, for instance, as an 
embellishment for gardens, vases of marble, into which it is im- 
possible to put any vegetable ; for apartments, urns and pitchers 
into which you cannot pour any species of fluid ; for our cities, 
colonades without palaces, gates in places where are no walls, 
public squares fenced with barriers, to prevent the people from 
assembling in them. It is they tell us that the grass may be per- 
mitted to shoot. A fine project truly ! One of the heaviest 
curses which the Ancients pronounced against their enemies 
was, that they might see the grass grow in their public places. 
If they wish to see verdure in ours. Why do they not plant trees 
in them, which would give the people at once shade and shel- 
ter? There are some who introduce into the trophies which or- 
nament the town residences of our grandees, bows, arrows, ca- 
tapults; and who have carried the simplicity of the thing to such 
a height as to plant on them Roman standards, inscribed with 
these characters, S. P. Q.. R. This may be seen in the Palais 
de Bourbon. Posterity will be taught to believe that the Ro- 
mans were, in the eighteenth century, masters of our country. 
And in what estimation do we mean, vain as we are, that our 
memory should be held by them, if our monuments, our medals, 
our trophies, our dramas, our inscriptions, continually hold out 
to them strangers and antiquity? 

The Greeks and Romans were much more consistent. Never 
did they dream of constructing useless monuments. Their beau- 
tiful vases of alabaster and calcedony were employed in festivals, 
for holding wine or perfumes ; their peristyles always announced 
a palace ; their public places were destined only to the purpose 
of assembling the people. There they reared the statues of their 



STUDY XIII. 27i 

great men, without enclosing them in rails of iron, in order that 
their images might still be within reach of the miserable, and 
be open to their invocation after death, as they themselves had 
been while they were alive. Juvenal speaks of a statue of bronze 
at Rome, the hands of which had been worn away by the kisses 
of the People. What glory to the memory of the person whom 
it represented ! Did it still exist, that mutilation would render 
it more precious than the Venus de Medicis^ with its fine propor- 
tions. 

Our populace we are told is destitute of patriotism. I can 
easily believe it, for every thing is done that can be done to des- 
troy this principle in them. For example, en the pediment of 
the beautiful church which we are building in honour of Saint 
Genevieve^ but which is too small, as all our modern monuments 
are, an adoration of the cross is represented. You see indeed 
the Patroness of Paris in bas-reliefs under the peristyle, in the 
midst of Cardinals ; but would it not have been more in charac- 
ter to exhibit to the People their humble Patroness in her habit 
of shepherdess, in a little jacket and cornet, with her scrip, her 
crook, her dog, her sheep, her moulds for making cheese, and 
all the peculiarities of her age and of her condition, on the pe- 
diment of the church dedicated to her memory ? To these might 
have been added a view of Paris, such as it was in her time. 
From the whole would have resulted contrasts and objects of 
comparison of the most agreeable kind. The People at sight 
of this rural scenery would have called to memory the days of 
old. They would have conceived esteem for the obscure virtues 
which are necessary to their happiness, and would have been sti- 
mulated to tread in the rough paths of glory which their lowly 
patroness trod before them, whom it is now impossible for 
them to distinguish in her Grecian robes, and surrounded by 
Prelates. 

Our Artists in some cases deviate so completely from the 
principal object, that they leave it out altogether. There was 
exhibited some years ago, in one of the workshops of the 
Louvre, a monument in honour of the Dauphin and Dauphiness, 
designed for the cathedral of the city of Sens. Ever)' body flock- 
ed to see it, and came away in raptures of admiration. I went 
with the rest; and the first thing I looked for was the resemblance 
of the Dauphin and Dauphiness, to whose memory the monu- 



372 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

ment had been erected. There was no such thing there, not 
even in medallions. You saw Thiie with his scythe, Hymen with 
urns, and all the thread bare ideas of allegory, which frequently 
is by the way the genius of those who have none. In order to 
complete the elucidation of the subject, there were on the pan- 
nels of a species of altar, placed in the midst of this group of 
symbolical figures, long inscriptions in Latin, abundantly foreign 
to the memory of the great Prince who was the object of them. 
There, said I to myself, there is a fine national monument ! La- 
tin inscriptions for French readers, and pagan symbols for a 
cathedral ! Had the Artist, whose chisel I in other respects ad- 
mired, meant to display his own talents, he ought to have re- 
commended to his successor, to leave imperfect a small part of 
the base of that monument, which death prevented himself from 
finishing, and to engrave these words upon it : CousTOU jjwri- 
ens faciebat.* This consonance of fortune would have united 
him to the royal monument, and would have given a deep im- 
pression to the reflections on the vanity of human things, whicji 
the sight of a tomb inspires. 

Very few Artists catch the moral object j they aim only at 
the picturesque. " Oh, what a fine subject for a Belisarius /" 
exclaim they, when the conversation happens to turn on one of 
our great men reduced to distress. Nevertheless, the liberal arts 
are destined only to revive the memory of Virtue, and not Vir- 
tue to give employment to the fine Arts. I acknowledge that 
the celebrity which they procure is a powerful incentive to prompt 
men to great actions, though after all it is not the true one ; but 
though it may not inspire the sentiment, it sometimes produces 
the acts. Now-a-days we go much farther. It is no longer 
the glory of virtue which associations and individuals endeavor 
to merit ; it is the honour of distributing it to others at which 
they aim. Heaven knows the strange confusion which results 
from this? Women of very suspicious virtue, and kept- mi stress- 
es, establish Rose-feasts : they dispense premiums on virginity! 
Opera-girls crown our victorious Generals ! The Mareschal de 
Saxe^ our Historians tells us, was crowned with laurels on the 
national theatre: as if the Nation had consisted of players, and as 
if it's Senate were a theatre ! For my own part I look on Virtue 

' Tk(i work of Coustau left vwfinished by deatii. 



STUDY XIII. 373 

as so respectable, that nothing more would be wanting, but a 
single subject in which it was eminently conspicuous, to over- 
whelm with ridicule those who dared to dispense to it such vain 
and contemptible honours. What stage dancing girl, for example, 
durst have had the impudence to crown the august forehead of 
I'lirenne or that of Fenelon I 

The French Academy would be much more successful, if it 
aimed at fixing, by the charms of eloquence, the attention of the 
Nation on our great men : did it attempt less, in the elogiums 
which it pronounces to panegyrize the dead, than to satyrize the 
living. Besides, posterity will rely as little on the language of 
praise as on that of censure. For, first, the term elogium is 
suspected of flattery ; and farther, this species of eloquence cha- 
racterises nothing. In order to plant virtue, it is necessary to 
bring forward defects and vices, that conflict and triumph may 
be rendered conspicuous. The style employed in it is full of 
pomp and luxuriance. It is crowded with reflections, and paint- 
ings, foreign very frequently to tlie principal object. It resem- 
bles a Spanish horse ; it prances about wonderfully, but never 
gets forward. This kind of eloquence, vague and indecisive as 
it is, suits no one great man in particular, because it may be ap- 
plied in general to all those who have run the same career. If 
you only change a few proper names in the elogium of a Gene- 
ral, you may comprehend in it all Generals past and future. 
Besides it's bombast tone is so little adapted to the simple lan- 
guage of truth and virtue, that when a Writer means to introduce 
characterlstical traits of his hero, that we maj- know at least of 
whom he is speaking, he is under the necessity of throwing 
them into notes, for fear of deranging his academical order. 

Assuredly had Plutarch written the elogium only of illustrious 
men, he would have had as few readers at this day as the Pa- 
negyric of Trajan has, which cost the younger PHn>j so many 
years labour. You will never find an academical elogium in the 
hands of one of the common People. You might see them per- 
haps turning over those of Fontenelle^ and a few others, if the 
persons celebrated in them had paid attention to the people 
while they live. But the Nation takes pleasuse in reading 
History. 

As I was walking some time ago toward the quarter of the 
Military School, I perceived at some distance, near a sand-pit, 



574 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

a thick column of smoke. I bent my course that way to sec 
what produced it. I found in a very soUtary place, a good deal 
resembling that which Shakespeare makes the scene where the 
three witches appear to Macbeth^ a poor and aged woman sit- 
ting upon a stone. She was deeply engaged in reading in an 
old book, close by a great pile of herbage which she had set on 
fire. I first asked her for what purpose she was burning those 
herbs? She replied that it was for the sake of the ashes, which she 
gathered up and sold to the laundresses ; that for this end she 
bought of the gardeners the refuse plants of their grounds, and 
was waiting till they were entirely consumed that she might 
carry off the ashes, because they were liable to be stolen in her 
absence. After having thus satisfied my curiosity, she returned 
to her book, and read on with deep attention. Eagerly desirous 
to know what book it was with which she filled up her hours of 
languor, I took the liberty to ask the title of it. *' It is the life 
" of M. de Turenne^'' she replied. " Well, what do you think 
" of him ?" said I. " / h !" replied she with emotion, " he was 
" a brave man, who suffered much uneasiness from a Minister 
" of State, while he was alive!" I withdrew, filled with increa- 
sed veneration for the memory of M. de Turcnne^ who served 
to console a poor old woman in distress. It is thus that the virtues 
of the lower classes of society support themselves on those of great 
men, as the feeble plants, which to escape being trampled under 
foot, cling to the trunk of the oak. 

or NOBILITY. 

The ancient Nations of Europe imagined that the most pow- 
erful stimulus to the practice of virtue was to ennoble the de- 
scendants of their virtuous citizens. They involved themselves 
by this in very great inconveniencies. For in rendering nobility 
hereditary, they precluded to the rest of the citizens the paths 
which lead to distinction. As it is the perpetual, exclusive pos- 
session of a certain number of families, it ceases to be a national 
recompense, otherwise a whole Nation would consist of Nobles 
at length ; which would produce a lethargy fatal to arts and 
handicrafts ; and this is actually the case in Spain, and in part 
of Italy. 

Many other mischiefs necessarily result from hereditary no- 
blesse, the principal of which is the formation, in a State, of 



STUDY XIII. 375 

two several Nations which come at last to have nothing in 
common between them ; patriotism is annihilated, and both the 
one and the other hastens to a state of subjection. Such has 
been, within our recollection, the fate of Hungary, of Bohemia, 
of Poland, and even of part of the provinces of our own king- 
dom, such as Britanny, where a nobility insufferably lofty, and 
multiplied beyond all bounds, formed a class absolutely distinct 
from the rest of the citizens. It is well worthy of being remark- 
ed, that these counties, though republican, though so powerful, 
in the opinion of our political Writers, from the freedom of 
their constitution, have been very easily subjected by despotic 
Princes, who were the masters they tell us of slaves only. The 
reason is, that the People in every country prefer one Sovereign 
to a thousand tyrants, and that their fate always decides the 
fate of their lordly oppressors. The Romans softened the un- 
just and odious distinctions which existed between Patricians 
and Plebeians, by granting to these last privileges and employ- 
ments of the highest respectability. 

Means in my opinion still more effectual were employed by 
that People to bring the two classes of citizens to a state of 
closer approxiipation ; particularly the practice of adoption. 
How many great men started up out of the mass of the People, 
to merit this kmd of recompense, as illustrious as those which 
Country bestows, and still more addressed to the heart ! Thus 
did the Catos and the Scipios distinguish themselves, in hope of 
being ingrafted into Patrician families. Thus it was that the 
Plebeian Agricola obtained in marriage the daughter of Augustus. 
I do not know, but perhaps I am only betraying my own igno- 
rance, that adoption ever was in use among us, unless it were 
between certain great Lords, who from the failure of heirs of 
blood were at a loss how to dispose of their vast possessions 
when they died. I consider adoption as much pi-eferable to 
nobility conferred by the State. It might be the means of re- 
viving illustrious families, the descendants of which are now 
languishing in the most abject poverty. It would endear the 
Nobility to the People, and the People to the Nobility. It 
would be proper that the privilege of bestowing the rights of 
adoption should be rendered a species of recompense to the 
Noblesse themselves. Thus, for example, a poor man of fa- 
mily, who had distinguished himself, might be empowered tt> 



3r6 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

adopt one of the commonalty, who should acquire eminence 
A man of birth would be on the look-out for virtue among 
the People ; and a virtuous man of the commonalty would go 
in quest of a worthy nobleman as a patron. Such political 
bonds of union appear to me more powerful, and more honoura- 
ble, than mercenary matrimonial alliances, which, by uniting 
two individual citizens of different classes, frequently alienate 
their families. Nobility thus acquired would appear to me far 
preferable to that which public employments confer; for these, 
being < ntirely the purchase of so much money, from that very 
circumstance loose their respectability, and consequently de- 
grade the nobility attached to them. 

But in taking it at the best, one disadvantage must ever ad- 
here to hereditary nobility, namely, the eventual excessive mul- 
tiplication of persons of that description. A remedy for this has 
been attempted among us, by adjudging nobility to various pro- 
fessions, such as maritime commerce. First of all, it may be 
made a question. Whether the spirit of commerce can be per- 
fectly consistent with the honour of a gentleman ? Besides, 
What commerce shall he cany on who has got nothing ! Must 
not a premium be paid to the merchant for admitting a young 
man into his counting-house to learn the first principles of trade ? 
And where should so many poor men of noble birth find the 
means, who have not wherewithal to clothe their children ? I 
have seen some of them, in Britanny, the descendants of the 
most ancient families of the province, so reduced as to earn a 
livelihood by mowing down the hay of the peasantry for so much 
a day. 

Would to God that all conditions were nobilitated, the profes- 
sion of agriculture in particular ! for it is that, above all others, 
of which every function is allied to virtue. In order to be a 
i\usbandman there is no need to deceive, to flatter, to degrade 
one's-self, to do violence to another. He is not indebted for the 
profits of his labour to the vices or the luxury of his age, but to 
the bounty of Heaven. He adheres to his Country, at least by 
the little corner of it wliich he cultivates. If the condition of 
the husbandman were ennobled, a multitude of benefits to the 
inhabitants of the kingdom would result from it. Nay, it would 
be sufficient if it were not considered as ignoble. But here is a 
resource which the State might employ for the relief of the de- 



STUDY XIII. Z71 

cayed nobility. Most of the ancient seignories are purchased 
now a-days by persons who possess no other merit but that of 
having money ; so that the honour of those illustrious houses 
have fallen to the share of men who, to confess the truth, arc 
hardly worthy of them. The King ought to purchase those lord- 
ships as often as they come to market ; reserve to himself the 
seignorial rights, with part of the lands, and form of those small 
domains civil and military benefices, to be bestowed as rewards 
on good officers, useful citizens, and noble and poor families, 
nearly as the Timariots are in Turkey. 

OF AN ELYSIUM. 

The hereditary transmission of Nobility is subject to a farther 
inconveniency ; namely this, Here is a man, who sets out with 
the virtues of a Marius^ and finishes the career, loaded with all 
his vices. I am going to propose a mode of distinguishing su- 
perior worth which shall not be liable to the dangers of inherit- 
ance, and of human inconstancy : it is to v/ithhold the rewards 
of virtue till after death. 

Death affixes the last seal to the memory of Man. It is well 
known of what weight the decisions were which the Egyptians 
pronounced upon their citizens after life was terminated. Then 
too it was that the Romans sometimes exalted theirs to the rank 
of demi-gods, and sometimes threw them into the Tiber. The 
People, in default of priests and magistrates, still exercise a- 
mong us a part of this priesthood. I have oftener than once 
stood still of an evening, at sight of a magnificent funeral pro- 
cession, not so much to admire the pomp of it, as to listen to the 
judgment pronounced by the populace on the high and puissant 
Prince whose obsequies were celebrating. I have frequently 
heard the question asked. Was he a good master ? Was he fond 
of his wife and children ? Was he a friend to the Poor ? The 
People insist particularly on this last question ; because, being 
continually influenced by the principal call of Nature, the}' dis- 
tinguish in the rich hardlv any other virtue than beneficence. I 
have often heard this reply given : " Oh ! he never did good 
" to any one : he was an unkind relation, and a harsh master." 
I have heard them say, at the interment of a Farmer-General 
Avho left behind him more than twelve millions of livres, (half a 
million sterling) : " He drove away the countr\' poor frpm the 

Vol. II. 3R' 



378 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

" gate of his castle with fork and flail." On such occasions, 
you hear the spectators fall a swearing and cursing the memory 
of the deceased. Such are usually the funeral orations of the 
rich, in the mouth of the populace. There is little doubt that 
their decisions would produce consequences of a certain kind» 
were the police of Paris less strict than it is. 

Death alone can ensure reputation, and nothing short of re- 
ligion can consecrate it. Our grandees are abundantly aware 
of this. Hence the sumptuousness of their monuments in our 
churches. It is not that the clergy make a point of their being 
interred there, as many imagine. The clergy would equally 
receive their perquisites were the interment in the country : 
they would take care, and very justly, to be well paid for such 
journeys ; and they would be relieved from breathing all the 
year round in their stalls, the putrid exhalations of rotting car- 
cases. The principal obstacle to this necessary reform in our 
police proceeds from the great and the rich, who, seldom dis- 
posed to crowd the church in their life time, are eager for ad- 
mission after their death, that the people may admire their su- 
perb inausolea^ and their virtues portrayed in brass and mai'ble. 
But thanks to the allegorical representations of our Artists, and 
to the Latin inscriptions of our Literati^ the People know no- 
thing about the matter ; and the only reflection which they 
make at sight of them is, that all this must have cost an enor- 
mous sum of money ; and that such a vast quantity of copper 
might be converted to advantage into porridge-pots. 

Religion alone has the power of consecrating, in a manner 
that shall last, the memory of Virtue. The King of Prussia, 
who was so well acquainted with the great moving spriiig of 
politics, did not overlook this. As the Protestant Rifligion, 
which is the general profession of his kingdom, excludes from 
the churches the images of the Saints, he supplied their place 
with the portraits of the most distinguished officers who had 
fallen in his service. The first time I looked into the churches 
at Berlin, I was not a little astonished to see the walls adorned 
with the portraits of officers in their uniform, Beneath, there 
was an inscription indicating their names, their age, the place 
of their birth, and the battle in which they had been killed. 
There is likewise subjoined, if my ixcoUection is accurate, a 



STUDY XIII. 379 

line or two of elogium. The military enthusiasm kindled by 
this sight is inconceivable.* 

Among us, there is not a monkish order so mean as not to 
exhibit in their cloisters, and in their churches, the pictures of 
their great men, beyond all contradiction more respected, and 
better known, than those of the State. These subjects, always 
accompanied with picturesque and interesting circumstances,, 
are the most powerful means which they employ for attracting 
novices. The Carthusians already perceive, that the number 
of their novices is diminished, now that they have no longer in 
their cloisters the melancholy history of S. Bruno painted in a 
style so masterly, by Le Sueur. No one order of citizens prizes 
the portraits of men who have been useful only to the Nation, 
and to Mankind ; print-sellers alone sometimes display the im- 
ages of them filed on a string, and illuminated with blue and 
red. Thither the People resort to look for them among those 
of players and opera-girls. We shall soon have it is said the 
exhibition of a museum at the Tuilleries ; but that royal monu- 
ment is consecrated rather to talents than to patriotism, and 
like so many others it will undoubtedly be locked up from the 
People. 

First of all, I would have it made a rule that no citizen what- 
ever should be interred in the church. Xenophon relates that 
Cyrus^ the sovereign Lord of the greatest part of Asia, gave 
orders at his death, that his body should be buried in trie open 
country, under the trees, to the end that, said this great Prince, 
the elements of it might be quickly united to those of Nature, 
and contribute a-new to the formation of her beautiful Works. 
This sentiment was worthy of the sublime soul of Cyrus, But 
tombs in every country, especially the tombs of great Kings, 
are the most endeared of all monuments to the Nations. The 
Savages consider those of their ancestors as titles to the posses- 
sion of the lands which they inhabit. " This country is ours," 
say they, " the bones of our fathers are here laid to rest." When 

* But what, at length, has all this enthusiasm availed ? If it served, fov a 
lime, to uphold the glory of the second Frederick,it has not been sufficient to 
prevent the almost entire declension of the honours of the Prussian crown. 

BSB 



aSO STUDIES OF NATURE. 

they are forced to quit it, they dig them up with tears, and 
carry them off with every token of respect.* 

The Turks erect their tombs by the side of the high-ways, as 
the Romans did. The Chinese make theirs enchanted spots. 
They place them in the vicinity of their cities, in grottos dug 
out of the side of hills; they decorate the entrance into them 
with pieces of architecture, and plant before them, and all around, 
groves of cypress, and of firs, intermingled with trees which bear 
flowers and fruits. These spots inspire a profound and a deli- 
cious melancholy ; not only from the natural effect of their deco- 
ration, but from the moral sentiment excited in us by tombs, 
which are, as we have said in another place, monuments erected 
on the confines of two Worlds. 



* Nothing' can exceed the enthusiastic attachment of the greater number 
of the known savage nations of North-America to the simple tombs of their 
fathers, or ancestors. They visit tliem, when this can be done, at stated pe- 
riods ; or if transiently passing in the neighbourhood of them, they stop to 
honour the tumulus with a stone. Sometimes, when a tribe, or family, is at 
a great distance from the burial-place of the nation, it is not uncommon to 
see individuals, even the old and infirm, can-ying about with them, the bones 
of their relatives, until they shall have an opportunity of depositing them in 
the sacred ground of the nation. Nay, they ai-e at the labour of frequently 
anointing the bones thus carried, with the view, as they imagine, of prevent- 
ing their too early decay. — When the Indians visit the sepulchral tumuli, 
and add, according to the custom of their ti'ibe, a stone, they often utter these 
words, " Grandfather, I cover you !" — I have been the more induced to men- 
tion these circumstances, by reason of an assertion of the late very respec- 
table Dr. James Beattie, in his Remarks on some Passages of the sixth Book 
oftJie Encid. The assertion to which I allude, occurs in the following pas- 
sage : " To inculcate this doctrine, that the soul would suffer for some time 
In another world, if the body were not decently buried in this, and that the 
neglect of the funeral ceremonies is offensive to superior beings, was a very 
u arrantable fraud in the lawgivers of Greece and Egj^pt ; as it would no 
doubt make the people attentive to a duty, -whereof -we Jind that savage nations 
are too apt to be forgetful.'" f 

Now nothing can be more unfounded tlian this assertion. So far is it from the 
truth, that our accounts of savage nations (those of the Americans, perhaps, 
more especially) are full of instances of the veneration of the people for the 
remains of their dead. On this subject, a very interesting volume might be 
written : and, indeedi» I am not sure, that already something of the kind lia« 
not proceeded from the pen of a German writer. — B. S. B. 

i Transactions of (lie Soyal Society of Edinburgh. Vol. ii 



STUDY XIII. 381 

Our great ones then would lose nothing of the respect which 
they wish to attach to their memory, were they to be interred 
in public receptacles of the dead, adjoining to the Capital. A 
magnificent sepulchral chapel might be constructed in the midst 
of the burying-ground, devoted solely to funeral obsequies, the 
celebration of which frequently disturbs the worship of God in 
parish-churches. Artists might give full scope to their imagi- 
nation in the decorations of such a mausoleum ; and the temples 
of humility and truth would no longer be profaned by the vanity 
and falsehood of monumental epitaphs. 

While each citizen should be left at liberty to lodge himself, 
agreeably to his own fancy, in this last and lasting abode, I would 
have a large space selected, not far from Paris, to be consecrated 
by every solemnity of Religion, to be a general receptacle of the 
ashes of such as may have deserved well of their country. 

The services which may be rendered to our country are infi- 
nite in number, and very various in their Nature. We hardly 
acknowledge any but what are of one and the same kind, derived 
from formidable qualities, such as valour. We revere that only 
which terrifies us. The tokens of our esteem are frequently 
testimonies of our weakness. We are brought up to sense of 
fear only, and not of gratitude. There is no modem Nation so 
insignificant as not to have it's Alexander and it's Cesar to com- 
memorate, but no one it's Bacchus and it's Ceres. The Ancients, 
as valiant at least as we are, thought incomparably better. Plu- 
tarch observes somewhere, that Ceres and Bacchus, who were 
mortals, attained the supreme rank of Gods, on account of the 
pure, universal, and lasting blessings which they had procured 
for Mankind; but that Hcrcitles^ Theseus, and other Heroes, 
were raised only to the subordinate rank of demi-gods, because 
the services which they rendered to men were transient, circum- 
scribed, and contained a gi-eater mixture of evil. 

I have often felt astonishment at our indifference about tht 
memory of those of our Ancestors who introduced useful trees 
into the country, the fruits and shade of which are to this day 
so delicious. The names of those benefactors are most of them 
entirely unknown ; their benefits are however perpetuated to us 
from age to age. The Romans did not act in this manner. Pi'mu 
tells us, with no small degi-ee of self-complacency, that of the 
<"ight species of cherry known at Rome in his time, one wa' 



382 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

called the Pl'iman^ after the name of one of his relations, to 
whom Italy was indebted for it. The other species of this very 
fruit bore, at Rome, the names of the most illustrious families, 
being denominated the Apronian, the Actian, the Caecilian, the 
Julian. He informs us that it was Lucidlus who, after the defeat 
oi Mithridates^ transplanted from the kingdom of Pontus the first 
cherry-trees into Italy, from whence they were propagated in 
less than a hundred and twenty years all over Europe, England 
not excepted, which was then peopled with barbarians. They 
were perhaps the first means of the civilization of that Island, 
for the first laws always spring up out of agriculture : and for 
this very reason it is that the Greeks gave to Ceres the name of 
Legislatrix. 

Pliny^ in another place, congratulates Pompeij and Vespasian 
on having displayed at Rome the ebony-tree, and that of the 
balm of Judea, in the midst of their triumphal processions, as 
if they had then triumphed not only over the Nations, but over 
the very Nature of their countries. Assuredly, if I entertained 
a wish to have my name perpetuated, I would much rather have 
it affixed to a fruit in France than to an island in America. The 
People in the season of that fruit would recal my memory with 
tokens of respect. My name, preserved in the baskets of the 
peasantry, would endure longer than if it were engraved on co- 
lumns of marble. I know of no monument in the noble family 
of Montmorenci more durable, and more endeared to the People, 
than the cherry which bears it's name. The Good-Henry, other- 
wise lapat hum, which grows without culture in the midst of our 
plains, will confer a more lasting duration on the memory of 
Henry IV. than the statue of bronze placed on the Pont-Neuf, 
though protected by an iron rail and a guard of soldiers. If the 
seeds and the heifers which Louis XV. by a natural movement 
of humanity, sent to the Island of Otaheite, should happen to 
multiply there, they will preserve his memory much longer, and 
render it much dearer among the Nations of the South-Sea, than 
the pitiful pyramid of bricks which the fawning Academicians 
attempted to rear in honour of him at Quito, and perhaps than 
the statues erected to him in the heart of his own kingdom. 

The benefit of a useful plant is, in my opinion, one of the 
most important services which a citizen can render to his Coun- 
try. Foreign plants unite us to tlie Nations from whence the\ 



STUDY XIII. 383 

come ; they convey to us a portion of their happiness ; and of 
their genial Suns. The olive-tree represents to me the happy 
climate of Greece much better than the book of Pausanias ; and 
I find the gifts of Minerva more powerfully expressed in it than 
upon medallions. Under a great-chesnut in blossom I feel my- 
self laid to rest amidst the rich umbrage of America; the per- 
fume of a citron transports me to Arabia ; and I am an inhabi- 
tant of voluptuous Peru whenever I inhale the emanations of the 
heliotrope. 

I would begin then with erecting the first monuments of the 
public gratitude to those who have introduced among us the 
useful plants ; for this purpose I would select one of the islands 
of the Seine, in the vicinity of Paris, to be converted into an 
Elysium. I would take for example that one which is below 
the majestic bridge of Neuilly, and which in a few years more 
will actually be joined to the suburbs of Paris. I would extend 
my field of operation, by taking in that branch of the Seine 
which is not adapted to the purposes of navigation, and a large 
portion of the adjoining Continent. I would plant this exten- 
sive district with the trees, the shrubbery, and the herbage, 
with which France has been enriched for several ages past. 
There should be assembled the great Indian-chesnut, the tulip- 
tree, the mulberry, the acacia of America and of Asia; the 
pines of Virginia and Siberia ; the bear's-ear of the Alps ; the 
tulips of Calcedonia, and so on. The service-tree of Canada, 
with it's scarlet clusters, should have a place ; the inagnolia 
qrandijlora of America, which produces the largest and most 
odoriferous of flowers : the evergreen thuia of China, which 
puts forth no apparent flower, should interlace their boughs, and 
form here and there enchanted groves. 

Under their shade, and amidst carpets of variegated verdure, 
should be reared the monuments of those who transplanted 
them into France. We should behold, around the magnificent 
tomb of Nkot^ Ambassador from France to the Court of Por- 
tugal, which is at present in the church of St. Paul, the famous 
Tobacco plant springing up, called at first after his name Nicoti- 
ana^ because he was the man who first diffused the knowledge 
of it over Lurope. There is not a European Prince but what 
owes him a statue for that service, for there is not a vegetable 
in the World which has poured such sums into their treasuries, 



384 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

and so many agreeable illusions into the minds of their subjects. 
The ^nepenthes of Homer is not once to be compared to it. 
There might be engraved on a tablet of marble adjoining to it, 
the name of the Flemish Auger de Busbeqidus^ Ambassador 
from Ferdinand the First King of the Romans to the Porte, in 
other respects so estimable from the charms of his epistolary 
correspondence ; and this small monument might be placed un- 
der the shade of the lilach, which he transported from Constan- 
tinople, and of which he made a present to Europe f in 1562. 
The lucern of Media should there surround with it's shoots the 
monument dedicated to the memory of the unknown husband- 
man, who first sowed it on our flinty hillocks, and who present- 
ed us with an article of pasture, in parched situations, which 
renovates itself at least four times a year. At sight of the so- 
lanam of America which produces at it's root the potatoe, the 
poorer part of the community would bless the name of the man 
who secured to them a species of aliment which is not liable, 
like corn, to suffer by the inconstancy of the elements, and by 
the granaries of monopolizers.:}; There too should be displayed, 
not without a lively interest, the urn of the unknown Traveller 

* I am somewhat sm-prizcd, I confess, to find our g-ood author speakhigf 
with so much enthusiasm, of the tobacco. Is he fond of snuff; does lie 
smoke! As they regai'd a man of great genius and of still greater worth, I 
may be excused for asking these seemingly unimportant, questions. — I will 
not pretend to say, whether, upon the whole, the use of tobacco has done 
more harm than g'ood, among' mankind. It does not appear to be unfriendly 
to old age. It is, unquestionably, in some cases, a medicine of much efficacy. 
But tobacco, as an article of usefulness, ought not to be compared to the 
nepenthes of Homer : if, indeed, this last be what we call opium, or at least 
some other anodj-ne preparation of the poppy. — B. S. B. 

f See JMatthiola on Dioscoridcs. 

? The potatoe {solanum tuberosum) is a native of Peru and Chili, and 
doubtless of other parts of South America. It is not, as has been supposed, 
by Sir Joseph Banks and other leai*ned and ingenious men, a native of Vu*- 
g-inia. I have fully satisfied mjself, that it was not even known, in a ciilti- 
■tated state, to any of the Americans north of Mexico, when the Europeans 
first took possession of these countries. And we learn from Clavig'ero and 
other writers, that this invaluable veg-etable was unknown in ^Mexico, until it 
was introduced into that country, from the more southern regions of Ame- 
rica. We know not, with absolute certainty, who first introduced the po. 
tatoe into Europe : nor is the pi'ecise period of it's introduction satisfactorily 
ascertained. — B. S. B. 



STUDY XIII. 385 

who adorned to endless generations the humble window of his 
obscure habitation with the brilliant colours of Aurora^ by trans- 
planting thither the nun of Peru.* 

On advancing into this delicious spot, we should behold un- 
der domes and porticos the ashes and the busts of those who, 
by the invention of useful arts, have taught us to avail ourselves 
of the productions of Nature, and who by their genius have spa- 
red us the necessity of long and painful labours. There would be 
no occasion for epitaphs. The figures of the implements em- 
ployed in weaving of stockings •, of those used in twisting of 
silk, and in the construction of the windmill, would be monu- 
mental inscriptions as august, and as expressive, on the tombs 
of their inventors, as the sphere inscribed in the cylinder on 
that of Archimedes. There might one day be traced the aeros- 
tatic globe, on the tomb of Mongolfier ; but it would be proper 
to know beforehand, whether that strange machine, which ele- 
vates men into the air by means of fire, or gas, shall contribute 
to the happiness of Mankind ; for the name of the inventor of 
gun-powder himself, were we capable of tracing it, could not be 
admitted into the retreats of the benefactors of Humanity. 

On approaching toward the centre of this Elysium we should 
meet with monuments still more venerable, of those who by 
their virtue have transmitted to posterity fruits far more deli- 
cious than those of the vegetables of Asia, and who have called 
into exercise the most sublime of all talents. There should be 
placed the monuments and the statues of the generous Diiqucsnc^ 
who himself fitted out a squadron, at his sole expense, in the 
defence of his Country : of the sage Catinat, equally tranquil in 
tlie mountains of Savoy, and in the humble retreat of St. Gra- 
tian; and of the heroic Chevalier cfAssas, sacrificing himself 
by night for the preservation of the French army in the woods 
of Klosterkam. 

There should be the illustrious Writers, who inflamed their 
compatriots with the ardor of performing great actions. There 

* For my own pari, I w ould coiUemplatc the monument of thiit man, were 
it but a simple lilc, witli more respect than tiie superb mausolca which have 
bce>. reared in many places of Europe, and of Amei-ica, in honour oftiie in- 
human conquerors of Mexico and Peru. More Historians than one have 
given their elogium ; but divine Providence has done ihe.n justice. Tney all 
died II violent death, and most of tlie by the baud of the executioner. 

Vol. XL 3 C 



386 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

we should see Amyot leaning on the bust of Plutarch , and Thou, 
who hast given at once the theory and the example of virtue, 
divine author of Telemachus ! we should revere thy ashes and 
thy image, in an image of those elysian fields which thy pencil 
has delineated in such glowing colours. 

I would likewise give a place to the monuments of eminent 
women, for virtue knows no distinction of sex. There should 
be reared the statues of those who with all the charms of beauty 
preferred a laborious and obscure life, to the vain delights of 
the World ; of matrons who re-established order in a deranged 
family, who, faithful to ^e memory of a husband frequently 
chargeable Avith infidelity, preserved inviolate the conjugal vow, 
even after death had cancelled the obligation, and devoted youth 
to the education of the dear pledges of an union now no more : 
and finally, the venerable effigies of those who attained the high- 
est pinnacle of distinction by the very obscurity of their virtues. 
Thither should be transported the tomb of a Lady of Lamoignon, 
from the poor church of Saint Giles where it remains unnoticed : 
it's affecting epitaph would render it still more worthy of occu- 
pying this honourable station than the chisel of Girardon^ whose 
master-piece it is : in it we read that a design had been enter- 
tained to bury her body in another place ; but the poor of the 
parish, to whom she was a mother all her life long, carried it 
off by force, and deposited it in their church : they themselves 
would undoubtedly transport the remains of their benefactress, 
and resort to this hallowed spot to display them to the public 
veneration. 

Hie manus ob Patriam pug'nando vulnera passi ; 

Q lique Sacerdotes casti, dum vita manebat ; 

Qi ique pii Vates, et Phabo digna locuti ; 

Inventas aut qui vitam excoluere per artes ; 

Quique sui memores alios fecere merendo.* — .4En«V/, Book a i 

* Thus imitated : 
Here Patriot-bands who for their country bled .- 
Priests, who a life of purest virtue led : 
Here Bards sublime, fraught with ethereal firf. 
Whose heavenly strains outvied Apollo's lyre : 
Divine Inventors of the useful Arts : 
All those whose generous and expansive hearti, 
By goodness sought to purchase honest fame ; 
And dying left behind a deatliless name. 



STUDY XIII. ^87 

" Here inhabit the heroic bands who bled in fighting the bat- 
" ties of their Country ; the sacred ministers of religion, whose 
*' life exhibited unsullied purity ; venerable bards, who uttered 
" strains not unworthy of Apollo himself ; and those who, by the 
*' invention of useful arts, contributed to the comfort of human 
" life ; all those, in a word, who by deserving well of Mankind 
*' have purchased for themselves a deathless name." 

Had St. Pierre, in the course of his travels, come over to this Island, and 
visited Slotve, he would have found his idea of an Elysium anticipated, and 
upon no mean scale, by the great Lord Cobham, who has rendered every 
spot of that terrestrial Paradise sacred to the memory of departed excellence. 
What would have given our Author peculiar satisfaction, the Parish Church 
stands in the centre of the Garden ; hence the People have unrestrained ac- 
cess to it ; the monuments are for the most part patriotic, without regard to 
the distinctions of rank and fortune, except as allied to vhlue ; and the best 
inscriptions are in plain English, and humble prose. In a beautifully solemn 
valley, watered by a silent stream, and shaded by the trees of the Country, 
stands the Temple of the British Woithies. The decorations and the arrangt;- 
ments arc simple ; only that there is a mythological Mercury peeping over in 
the centre, to contemplate the immortal shades whom he has conducted to tlie 
Elysian Fields. Were I Marquis of Buckingham, the wing-heeled God, 
with his caduceus and Latin motto, should no longer disfigure the uniformity 
and simplicity of tliat enchanting scene; and if Charon's old crazy barge 
too were sunk to the bottom, the place and the idea would be greatly im- 
proved. 

To those who have never been at Stoiue, it may not be unacceptable to 
read the Names, and the characteristic Inscriptions of this lovely retreat, 
consecrated to Patriot worth, exalted genius, and the love of tlie Human 
Race. 

SIR THOMAS GRESHAM, 

Who, by the honourable profession of a Merchant, having enriched liimself;, 
and his Country, for carrying on the Commerce of the World, built the Royal 
Exchange. 

IGNATIUS JONES, 
Who, to adorn his Country, introduced and rivalled the Greek and Roman 
Architecture. 

JOHN MILTON, 
Whose sublime and unbounded genius equidled a subject that carried him 
beyond the limits of the World. 

WILLIAM SHAKESPEAR, 
Whose excellent genius opened to him the whole heart of Man, all tlie mine.'? 
of fancj', all the stores of Nature ; and gave him power, beyond all other 
Writers, to move, astonisli, and delight Mankind. 

JOHN LOCKE, 
Who, best of all Philosophers, understood the powers of tlie Human Mind, 
the nat!iro, end, and bounds of Civil Government; and, with equal rom-agc 



388 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

There I would have, scattered about, monuments of every 
kind, and apportioned to the various degrees of merit: obelisks, 
columns, pyramids, urns, bas-reliefs, medallions, statues, tablets, 
peristyles, domes ; I would not have them crouded together as 
in a repository, but disposed with taste ; neither would I have 
them all of white marble, as if they came out of the same quar- 

and sagacity, refuted the slavish systems of usurped authority over the rights, 
the consciences, or the. reason of Mankind. 

SIR ISAAC NEWTON, 
Whom the GOD of Nature made to comprehend his Works ; and, from sim- 
ple principles, to discover tlie Laws never known before, and to explain the. 
appearances never understood, of this stupendous Universe. 
Sill FR.\NCIS BACON, (Lord Verulam) 
Who, by the strength and light of a superior genius, rejecting vain speculation, 
and fallacious theory, tiiught to pursue truth, and improve Philosophy by the 
certain method of experiment. 

KING ALFRED, 
The mildest, justest, most beneficent of Kings ; who drove out the Danes, 
secured the Seas, protected Learning, established Juries, crushed Corpo- 
ration, guarded Liberty, and was tlie Founder of the English Constitution. 

EDWARD, PRINCE OF WALES, 
The terror of Eiu-ope, the delight of England ; who preserved unaltered, in 
tlic height of Glory and Fortune, his natural Gentleness and Modesty. 

QUEEN ELIZABETH, 
Who confounded the projects and destroyed the Power that threatened to 
oppose the liberties of Europe ; shook oft' the yoke of Ecclesiastical Tyran- 
ny ; restored Religion from the Con-uptions of Popery ; and, by a wise, a 
moderate, and a popular Government, gave Wealth, Security, and Respect 
to England. 

KING WILLIAM IH. 
Who by his Virtue and Constancy, having saved his country from a foreign 
Master, by a bold and generous enterprize, preserved tlie Liberty and Reli- 
gion of Great Britain. 

SIR W" ALTER RALEIGH, 
A valiant Soldier, and an able Statesman ; who, endeavouring to rouze tlie 
spirit of his Master, for the honour of his Country, against the ambition of 
Spain, fell a saci-ifice to the influence of that Court, whose arms he had van- 
(juished, and whose designs he opposed. 

SIR FRANCIS DRAKE, 
Who, through many perils, was the first of Britons that adventured to sail 
round the Globe ; and carried into unknown Seas and Nations, the knowledge 
and glory of the English name. 

JOHN HAMPDEN, 
Who with great spirit, and consummate abilities, begun a noble opposition 
to an arbiti-ary Court, in defence of the Liberties of his Country ; supported 
them in Parliament,, and died for them in the Field. 



STUDY XIII. 389 

ry ; but of marbles and stones of every colour. There would 
be no occasion, through the whole extent of this vast enclosure, 
which I suppose to be at least a mile and a half in diameter, for 
the application ot the line, nor for digging up the ground, nor 
for grass plots, nor for trees cut into shape and fantastically 
trimmed, nor of any thing resembling what is to be seen in our 
gardens. For a similar reason I would have no Latin inscrip- 
tions, nor mythological expressions, nor any thing that favoured 
of the Academy. Still less would I admit of dignities, or of 
honours, which call to remembrance the vain ideas of the World ; 
I would retrench from them all the qualities v/hich are destroyed 
by death ; no importance should there be assigned but to good 
actions, which survive the man and the citizen, and which are 
the only titles that posterity cares for, and that GOD recom- 
penses. The inscriptions upon them should be simple and na- 
turally suggested by each particular subject. I would not set 
the living a-talking uselessly to the dead, and to inanimate ob- 
jects, as is the case in our epitaphs j but the dead, and inanimate 
objects, should speak to the living for their instruction, as among 
the Ancients. These correspondencies of an invisible to a visible 
nature, of a time remote to the time present, convey to the soul 
the celestial extension of infinity, and are the source of the de- 
light which ancient inscriptions inspire. 

Thus, for example, on a rock placed amidst a tuft of straw- 
berry-plants of Chili, these words might be inscribed : 

I was unknown to Europe ; but, in such a year, such a Person, born in 
such a Place, transplanted me from the lofty Moimtains of Chili, and 
now I bear Flowers and Fruit in the happy climate of France. 

Underneath a bas-relief of coloured marble, which should 
represent little children eating, drinking, and plajing, the fol- 
lowing inscription might appear. 

We were exposed intlie Streets to the Dog-s, to Famine and Cold ; such a 
compassionate Female, of such a place, lodired us, clothed us, and fed us 
with the milk which our own Mothers had denied. 

At the foot of a statue of white marble, of a young and beau- 
tiful woman, sitting and wiping her eyes, with symptoms of 
grief and joy : 
I was odious in the sight of GOD and Man ; but, melted into Penitence, I 
have made my Peace with Heaven by Contrition, and have repau-ed thu 
Mischief which I had done to Men, by befriending' the Miserable. 



390 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

Near this might be inscribed, under that of a young girl m 
mean attire, employed with her distaff and spindle, and looking 
up to Heaven with rapture : 

I have learned to despise the vain Delights of the World, and now I enjoy 
Happiness. 

Of those monuments, some should exhibit no other elogium 
but the name simply : such should be, for example, the tomb 
which contained the ashes of the Author of Telemachiis ; or at 
most I would engrave on it the following words, so expressive 
©f his affectionate and sublime character : 
He fulfilled the two Great Precepts of the Law : He loved GOD and Man. 

I have no need to suggest, that these inscriptions might be 
conceived in a much happier st}4e than mine ; but I would in- 
sist upon this, that in the figures introduced there should be 
displayed no air of insolence ; no dishevelled locks flying about 
in the wind, like those of the Angel sounding the rpsvirrection- 
trumpet, no theatrical grief, and no violent tossing of the robes, 
like the Magdalene of the Carmelites ; no mythological attri- 
butes, which convey nothing instructive to the People. Every 
personage should there appear with his appropriate badge of 
distinction : there should be exhibited the sea-cap of the sailor, 
the cornet of the nun, the stool of the Savoyard, pots for milk, 
and pots for soup. 

These statues of virtuous citizens ought to be fully as respec- 
table as those of the Gods of Paganism, and unquestionably 
more interesting than that of the antique grinder or gladiator. 
But it would be necessary that our Artists should study to con- 
vey, as the Ancients did, the characters of the soul in the attitude 
of the body, and in the traits of the countenance, such as peni- 
tence, hope, joy, sensibility, innocence. These are the peculia- 
rities of Nature, which never vary, and which always please, 
whatever be the drapery. Nay the more contemptible that the 
occupations" and the garb of such personages are, the more sub- 
lime will appear the expression of charity, of humanity, of inno- 
cence, and of all their virtues. A young and beautiful female, 
labouring like Penelope at her web, and modestly dressed in a 
Grecian robe, with long plaits, would there no doubt present an 
object pleasing to every one : but I should think her a thousand 
times more interesting than the figure of Penelope herself, em- 



STUDY XIII. 391 

plftydti in the same labour, under the tatters of misfortune and 
misery. 

There should be on those tombs no skeletons, no bat's wings, 
no Time with his scythe, no one of those terrifying attributes 
whereby our slavish education endeavours to inspire us with hor- 
ror at the thought of death, that last benefit of Nature : but we 
should contemplate on them symbols which announce a happy 
and immortal life ; vessels, shattered by the tempest, arriving safe 
in port ; doves taking their flight toward Heaven, and the like. 

The sacred effigies of virtuous citizens, crowned with flowers, 
with the characters of felicity, of peace, and of consolation in 
their faces, should be arranged toward the centre of the island, 
around a vast mossy down, under the trees of the Country, such 
as stately beech-trees, majestic pines, chesnut-trees loaded with 
fruit. There, likewise, should be seen the vine wedded to the 
elm, and the apple-tree of Normandy clothed with fruit of all 
the variety of colours which flowers display. From the middle 
of that down should ascend a magnificent temple in form of a 
rotundo. It should be surrounded with a peristyle of majestic 
columns, as was formerly at Rome the Moles Adriani. 13ut I 
could wish it to be much more spacious. On the frige these 
words might appear : 

To the love of the human race. 

In the centre I would have an altar simple and unoniamented, 
at which, on certain days of the year, divine service might be 
celebrated. No production of sculpture nor of painting, po 
gold nor jewels, should be deemed worthy of decorating the 
interior of this temple ; but sacred inscriptions should announce 
the kind of merit which there received the crown. All those 
who might repose within the precincts undoubtedly would not 
be Saints. But over the principal gate, in a tablet of white 
marble, these divine words might meet the eye : 

Ilcr Sins, which were many, are forgiven ; for she loved much. 

On another part of the frize, the following inscription, which 
unfolds the nature of our duties, might be displayed : 

Vn-tiif is an F.flbrt made upon Ourselves, for the Good of Men, in tlie Viev/ 
of pleasing- GOD onlv. 



392 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

To this might be subjoined the following, very much CaltJU- 
lated to repress our ambitious emulation : 

The smallest Act of Virtue is of more Value than the Exercise of the greatest 

Talents. 

On other tablets might be inscribed maxims of trust in 
the Divine Providence, exti-acted from the Philosophers of all 
Nations j such as the following, borrowed from ihe modem 
Persians : 

When afflictiwi is at the Height, then we are the most encouraged to look 
for Consolation. The narrowest Part of the Defile is at the Entrance of 
the Plain.* 
And that other of the same coimtry : 

Whoever has cordially devoted his Soul to GOD, has effectually secui-ed 
himself against all the Ills which can behalf Him, both in this World, 
and in the next. 

There might be inserted some of a philosophic cast, on the 
vanity of human things, such as the following : 

Estimate each of your Days, by Pleasures, by Loves, by Treasures, and by 
Grandeurs ; the Last will accuse them all of Vanity. 

Or that other, which opens to us a perspective of the life to 
come : 

He who has provided Light for the Eye of Man, Sounds for his Ear, Per- 
fumes for his Smell, and Fruits for his Palate, will find the Means of 
one Day replenishing his Heart, m liich nothing here below can satisfy. 

. And that other, which inculcates charity toward men from 
the motives of s^lf-mterest : 

When a Man studies the World, he prizes those only who possess Saga- 
city ; but, when he studies Himself, he esteems only those who exer- 
cise Indulgence. 

I would have the following inscribed round the cupola, in 
letters of antique bronze : 

.\fandatum novum do volns, ut dilig-atis invicem ,• sicut dilexi vos, iit ci vos dili- 

£-atis invicem. 

Joiix, cap. xiii. v. 34. 

A new Commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another ; as I have 
loved you, that ye also love one another. 

* ChardiiCs Palace of Ispahan. 



STUDY XIII. 393 

In order to decorate this temple externally with a becoming 
dignity, no ornaments would be necessary except those of Na- 
ture. The first rays of the rising, and the last of the setting Sun, 
would gild it's cupola, towering above the forests : in the day- 
time the fires of the South, and by night the lustre of the Moon, 
would trace it's majestic shadow on the spreading down : the 
Seine would repeat the reflexes of it in it's flowing stream. In 
vain would the tempest rage around it's enormous vault; and 
when the hand of Time should have bronzed it with moss, the 
oaks of the Country should issue from it's antique cornices, and 
the eagles of Heaven, hovering round and round, would resort 
thither to build their nests. 

Neither talents, nor birth, nor gold, should constitute a title 
for claiming the honour of a monument in this patriotic and 
holy ground. But it will be asked, who is to judge, and to de- 
cide, the merits of the persons whose ashes are to be there de- 
posited ? The King alone should have the power of decision, 
and the people the privilege of reporting the cause. It should 
not be sufficient for a citizen, in order to his obtaining this sort 
of distinction, that he had cultivated a ncAV plant in a hot- house 
or even in his garden ; but it should be requisite to have it na- 
turalized in the open field, and the fruit of it carried for sale to 
the public market. It ought not to be deemed sufficient that 
the model of an ingenious machine was presented in the collec- 
tion of an Artist, and approved by the Academy of Sciences ; 
it should be required to have the machine itself in the hands of 
the People and converted to their use. It ought by no means 
to suffice, in order to establish the claim of a literar}' Work, that 
the prize had been adjudged to it by the French Academy; but 
that it should be read by that class of men for whose use it was 
designed. Thus, for example, a patriotic Ode should be ac- 
counted good for nothing, unless it were sung about the streets 
by the common people. The merit of a naval or military Com- 
mander should be ascertained, not by the report of Gazettes, 
but by the suffrages of the sailors or soldiery. 

The people in truth distinguish hardly any other virtue in the 
citizen except beneficence : they consult only their own leading- 
want ; but their instinct on this article is conformable to the 
divine Law : for all the virtues terminate in that, even those 
which appear the most remote from it ; and supposing there 

Vol.. ir. 3 D 



J94 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

■were rich men who meant to captivate their affections by doing 
them good, that is precisely the feehng with which we propose 
to inspire them. They would fulfil their duties, and the lofty 
and the low conditions of humanity would be reduced to a state 
of approximation. 

From an Institution of this kind would result the re-establish- 
ment of one of the Laws of Nature, of all others the most im- 
portant to a Nation ; I mean an inexhaustible perspective of in- 
finity, as necessary to the happiness of a whole Nation as to that 
of an individual. Such is, as we have caught a glimpse in an- 
other place, the nature of the human mind ; if it perceives not 
infinity in it's prospects, it falls back upon itself, and destroys 
itself by the exertion of it's o\vn powers. Rome presented to 
the patriotism of her citizens the conquest of the World : but 
that object was too limited. Her last victory would have proved 
the commencement of her ruin. The establishment which I am 
BOW proposing is not subjected to this inconveniency. No object 
can possibly be proposed to Man more unbounded, and more 
profound, than that of his own latter end. There are no monu- 
ments more varied and more agreeable than those of virtue. 
Were there to be reared annually in this Elysium, but a single 
tablet of the marble of Britanny, or of the granite of Auvergne, 
there would always be the means of keeping the People awake, 
by the spectacle of novelty. The provinces of the kingdom 
would dispute with the Capital the privilege of introducing the 
Boonuments of their virtuous inhabitants. 

What an august Tribunal might be formed of Bishops emi- 
nent for their piety, of upright Magistrates, of celebrated Com- 
manders of Armies, to examine their several pretensions ! 
What memoirs might one day appear, proper to create an in- 
terest in the minds of the People, who see nothing in their li- 
brary but the sentences of death pronounced on illustrious cri- 
minals, or the lives of Saints, which are far above their sphere. 
How many new subjects for our men of letters, who have no- 
thing for it but to trudge eternally over the beaten ground of 
the age of Loidfi XIV. or to prop up the reputation of the 
Greeks and Romans! What curious anecdotes for our wealthy 
voluptuaries ! They pay a very high price for the history of an 
American insect, engraved in eveiy possible manner, and stu- 
jiied through the microscope minute I)y minute, in v}-\ t'lr phnsrs 



STUDY XIII. 395 

of it's existence. They would not have less pleasure in study- 
ing the manners of a poor collier, bringing up his family virtu- 
ously in the forest, in the midst of smugglers and banditti ; or 
those of a wretched fisherman, who, in finding delicacies for 
their tables, is obliged to live like a heron in the midst of tem- 
pests. 

I have no doubt that these monuments, executed with the 
taste which we are capable of displaying, would attract crowds 
of rich strangers to Paris. They resort hither already to live 
in it, they would then flock hither to die among us. They 
would endeavour to deserve well of a Nation become the arbi- 
ter of the virtues of Europe, and to acquire a last asylum in the 
holy land of this Elysium j where all virtuous and beneficent men 
would be reputed citizens. This establishment, which might be 
formed undoubtedly in a manner very superior to the feeble 
sketch which I have presented of it, would serve to bring the 
higher conditions of life into contact with the lower, much bet- 
ter than our churches themselves, into which avarice and ambi- 
tion frequently introduce among the citizens distinctions more 
humiliating than are to be met with even in Society. It would 
allure foreigners to the Capital, by holding out to them the 
rights of a citizenship illustrious and immortal. It would unite, 
in a word. Religion to Patriotism, and Patriotism to Religion, 
the mutual bonds of which are on the point of being torn 
asunder- 

It is not necessary for me to subjoin, that this establishment 
would be attended with no expense to the State. It might be 
reared and kept up, by the revenue of some rich abbey, as it 
would be consecrated to Religion and to the rewards of virtue. 
There is no reason why it should become, like the monuments of 
modern Rome, and even like many of our own royal monu- 
ments, an object of filthy lucre to individuals, who sell the sight 
of them to the curious. Particular care would be taken not to 
exclude the People, because they are meanly habited ; nor to 
hunt out of it, as we do from our public gardens, poor and ho- 
nest artisans in jackets, while well-dressed courtezans flaunt 
about with effrontery in their great alleys. The lowest of the 
commonalty should have it in their power to enter at all sea- 
sons. It is to you, O ye miserable of all conditions, that the 
sight of the friends of Humanity should of right appertain : aud 



396 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

your patrons are henceforth no where but among the statues of 
virtuous men ! There, a soldier at sight of Catinat would learn 
to endure calumny. There, a girl of the town, sick of her in- 
famous profession, would with a sigh cast her eyes down to the 
gi-ound, on beholding the statue of modesty approached with 
honour and respect: but at a sight of that of a lemale of her 
own condition, reclaimed to the paths of virtue, she should raise 
them toward Him who preferred repentance to innocence. 

It may be objected to me. That our poorer sort would very 
soon spread destruction over all those monuments j and it must 
indeed be admitted, that they seldom fail to treat in this manner 
those which do not interest them. There should undoubtedly 
be a police in this place ; but the people respect monuments 
which are destined to their use. They commit ravages in a 
park, but do not wantonly destroy any thing in the open country. 
They would soon take the Elysium of their Country under their 
own protection, and watch over it with zeal much more ardent 
than that of Swiss and military guards. 

Besides more than one method might be devised to render 
that spot respectable and dear to them. It ought to be rendered 
an inviolable asylum to the unfortunate of every description ; 
for example, to fathers who have incurred the debt of a month's 
nursing of a child ; and to those who have committed venial 
and inconsiderate faults ; it would be proper to prohibit any 
arrest taking place there upon any one's person, except by an 
express warrant from the King under his own signature. This 
likewise should be the place to which laborious families out of 
employment might be directed to address themselves. There 
ought to be a strict prohibition to make it a place of alms-giving, 
but an unbounded permission to do good in it. Persons of 
virtue, who understand how to distinguish, and to employ men, 
v/ould resort thither in quest of proper objects in whose behalf 
they might employ their credit ; others, in the view of putting 
respect on the memory of some illustrious personage, would 
give a repast at the foot of his statue to a family of poor people. 
The State would set the example of this at certain favourite 
epochs, such as a festival in honour of the King's birth-day. 
Provisions might then be distributed among the populace, not 
by tossing loaves at their heads, as in our public rejoicings ; 
but they might be classed, and made to sit down on the grass 



STUDY XIII. 397 

in professional assemblies, round the statues of those who in- 
vented, improved, or perfected the several arts. Such repasts 
would have no resemblance to those which the rich sometimes 
give to the wretched, out of ceremony, and in which they re- 
spectfully wait upon their humble guests with napkins under 
their arm. The persons who gave the entertainment should be 
obliged to sit down at table with their company, and to eat and 
drink with them. It would be needless to impose on them the 
task of washing the feet of the poor ; but they might be ad- 
monished of rendering to them a service of much more real 
importance, that of supplying them with shoes and stockings. 

There the man of wealth would be instructed really to prac- 
tise virtue, and the People to know it. The Nation would 
there learn their great duties, and be assisted in forming a j ust 
idea of true greatness. They would behold the homage pre- 
sented to the memory of virtuous men, and the offerings ten- 
dered to the Deitv, ultimately applied to the relief of the mi- 
serable. 

Such repasts would recal to our remembrance the love-feasts 
of the primitive Christians, and the Saturnalia of death, toward 
which every day is carrying us forward, and which, by speedily 
reducing us all to an estate of equality, will efface every other 
difference among us except that of the good which we shall have 
done in life. 

In the days of other times, in order to do honour to the me- 
mory of virtuous men, the faithful assembled in places conse- 
crated by their actions, or by their sepulchres, on the brink of a 
fountain, or under the shade of a forest. Thither they had 
provisions carried, and invited those who had none to come and 
partake with them. The same customs have been common to 
all religions. They still subsist in those of Asia. You find 
them prevailing among the ancient Greeks. When Xenophon 
had accomplished that famous retreat by which he saved ten 
thousand of his compatriots, ravaging, as he went, the territory 
of Persia, he destined part of the booty thus obtained, to the 
founding of a chapel in Greece to the honour of Diana. He at- 
tached to it a certain revenue, which should annually supply 
with the amusement of the chace, and with a plentiful repast, all 
persons who should repair to it on a particular day. 



398 STUDIES OF NATURE. 



OF THE CLERGY. 

If our poor are sometimes partakers of some wretched eccle- 
siastical distribution, the relief which they thence derive, so far 
from delivering them out of their misery, only serves to conti- 
nue them in it. What landed property however has been be- 
queathed to the Church expressly for their benefit ? Why then 
are not the revenues distributed, in sums sufficiently large to 
rescue annuallv from indigence at least a certain number of fa- 
milies ? The Clergy allege that they are the administrators of 
the goods of the poor : but the poor are neither ideots nor mad- 
men to stand in need of administrators : besides, it is impossi- 
ble to prove by any one passage of either the Old or New Tes- 
tament, that this charge pertained to the priesthood : if they 
really are the administrators of the poor, they have then no less 
than seven millions of persons in the kingdom under their tem- 
poral administration. I shall push this reflection no farther. It 
is a matter of unchangeable obligation to render to every one his 
due : the priests are by divine right the agents of the poor, but 
the King alone is the natural administrator. 

As indigence is the principal cause of the vices of the People, 
opulence may, like it, produce in it's turn irregularities in the 
Clergy. I shall not avail myself here of the reprehensions of 
St. Jerome^ of St. Bernard^ of St. Augustin^ and of the other 
Fathers of the Church, to the Clergy of their times, and of the 
Countries in which they lived ; wherein they predicted to them 
the total destruction of Religion, as a necessary consequence of 
their manners and of their riches. The prediction of several of 
them was speedily verified in Africa, in Asia, in Judea, and in 
the Grecian Empire, in which not only the religion, but the ve- 
ry civil government of those Nations, totally disappeared. The 
avidity of most ecclesiastics soon renders the functions of the 
Church suspicious : this is an argument which strikes all meur 
I believe witnesses, said Pascal^ who brave death. This reason- 
ing however must be admitted with many grains of allowance ; 
but no objection can he offered to this : I distrust witnesses who 
are enriching themselves by their testimony. Religion in truth 
has proofs natural and supernatural, far superior to those which 
men are capable of furnishing it v.ith. She is independent of 



STUDY XIII. 399 

our regularity and of our irregularity ; but our Country depend? 
on these. 

The world at this day looks on most priests with an eye of 
envy ; Shall I say of hatred ? But they are the children of their 
age, just like other men. The vices which are laid to their 
charge belong partly to their Nation, partly to the times in which 
they live, to the political constitution of the State, and to their 
education. Ours are Frenchmen like ourselves ; they are our 
kinsmen, frequently sacrificed to our own fortune, through the 
ambition of our fathers. Were we charged with the perform- 
ance of their duties, we should frequently acquit ourselves 
worse than they do. I know of none so painful, none so worthy 
of respect, as those of a good ecclesiastic. 

I do not speak of those of a Bishop, who exercises a vigilant 
care over his diocese, who institutes judicious seminaries of 
instruction, who maintains regularity and peace in communities, 
who resists the wicked and supports the weak, who is always 
ready to succour the miserable, and who, in this age of error, 
refutes the objections of the enemies of the faith by his own 
virtues. He has his reward in the public esteem. It is possi- 
ble to purchase by painful labours the glory of being a Fe?ieloJi^ 
or a Juigne. I say nothing of those of a parish-minister, which, 
from their importance, sometimes attract the attention of Kings ; 
nor of those of a missionary advancing to the crown of mar- 
tyrdom. The conflicts of this last frequently endure but for a 
single day, and his glory is immortal. But I speak of those of 
a simple and obscure parish-drudge, to whom no one pays any 
niannerof attention. He is under the necessity, in the first 
place, of sacrificing the pleasures and the liberty of his juvenile 
days, to irksome and painful studies. He is obliged to support 
all the days of his life the exercise of his continency, like a cum- 
bersome cuirass, on a thousand occasions which endanger the 
loss of it. The world honours theatrical virtues only, and the 
victories of a single moment. But to combat day after day an 
enemy lodged within the fortress, and who makes his approach- 
es under the disguise of a friend ; to repel incessantly, without 
a witness, without glory, without applause, the most impetuous 
of passions and the gentlest of propensities — this is not easy. 

Conflicts of another kind await him from without. He is 
every day called upon to expose his life to the attack of epide- 



400 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

mical distempers. He is obliged to confess, with his head ou 
the same pillow, persons attacked with the small-pox, with the 
putrid and the purple fever. This obscure fortitude appears to 
me very far superior to the courage of a soldier. The military- 
man combats in the view of armies, animated with the noise of 
cannon and drums ; he presents himself to the stroke of death as 
a hero. But the priest devotes himself to it as a victim. What 
fortune can this last promise himself from his labours ? In many 
cases, a precarious subsistence at most! Resides, supposing him 
to have acquired wealth, he cannot transmit it to his descend- 
ants. He beholds all his temporal hopes ready to expire with 
him. What indemnification does he receive from men ? To be 
called upon many a time to administer the consolations of Reli- 
gion to persons who do not believe it ; to be the refuge of the 
poor, with nothing to give them ; to be sometimes persecuted for 
his very virtues j to see his conflicts treated with contempt, his 
best-intentioned actions mis-interpreted into artifice, his virtues 
transformed into vices, his religion turned into ridicule. Such 
are the duties imposed, and such the recompense which the 
World bestows on the men whose lot it envies. 

This is what I have assumed the courage to propose for the 
happiness of the People, and of the principal orders of the 
State, in so far as I have been permitted to submit my ideas to 
the public eye. Many Philosophers and Politicians have de- 
claimed against the disorders of Society without troubling them- 
selves to enquire into their causes, and still less into the reme- 
dies which might be applied. Those of the greatest ability have 
viewed our evils only in detail, and have recommended palia- 
tives merely. Some have proscribed luxury; others give no 
quarter to celibacy, and would load with the charge of a family 
persons who have not the means of supplying their personal ne- 
cessities. Some are for incarcerating all the beggars; others 
would prohibit the wretched women of pleasure to appear in the 
streets. They would act in the manner which that physician 
does, who in order to cure the pimples on the body of a person 
out of order, uses all his skill to force back the humours. Poli- 
ticians, you apply the remedy to the head, because the pain is 
in the forehead ; but the mischief is in the nerves : it is for the 
heart you must provide a cure ; it is the People whose health you 
must endeavour to restore. 



STUDY XIII. 401 

Should some great minister, animated with a noble ambition 
to procure for us internal happiness, and to extend our power 
externally, have the courage to undertake a re-cstablishment of 
things, he must in his course of procedure imitate that of Na- 
ture. She acts in every case slowly, and by means of re-actions. 
I repeat it, the cause of the prodigious power of gold, which 
has robbed the People at once of their morality and of their sub- 
sistence, is in the venality of public emplo}ments. That of the 
beggar)^, which at this day extends to seven millions of subjects, 
consists in the enormous accumulation of landed and official pro- 
perty. That of female prostitution is to be imputed, on the one 
hand, to extreme indigence ; and on the other to the celibacy 
of two millions of men. The unprofitable superabundance of 
the idle and censorious burghers in our second and third-rate 
cities, arises from the imposts which degrade the inhabitants of 
the country. The prejudices of the nobility are kept alive by 
the resentments of those who want the advantage of birth ; and 
all these evils, and others innumerable, physical and intellectual, 
spring up out of the misery of the People. It is the indigence 
of the People which produces such swarms of players, courte- 
zans, highwaymen, incendiaries, licentious scholars, calumnia- 
tors, flatterers, hypocrites, mendicants, kept-mistresses, quacks 
of all conditions, and that infinite multitude of corrupted wretch- 
es, who, incapable of coming to any thing by their virtues, en- 
deavour to procure bread and consideration by their vices. In 
vain will you oppose to these plans of finai"kce, projects of equali- 
zation of taxes and tythes, of ordonnances of Police, of arrets 
of Parliament ; all your efforts will be fruitless. The indigence 
of the People is a mighty river, which is every year collecting 
an increase of strength, which is sv*'eeping away before it every 
opposing mound, and which will issue in a total subversion of 
order and government. 

To this physical cause of our distresses must be added ano- 
ther purely moral ! I mean our education. I shall venture to 
suggest a few reflections on this subject, though it far exceeds 
my highest powers : but if it be the most important of our abuses, 
it appears to mc, on the other hand, the most easily susceptible 
of reformation ; and this reform appears to me so absolutely ne- 
cessary, that without it all tlie rest goes for nothing. 

Vol. II. 3 E 



STUDY XIV. 



OF EDUCATION 

*' TO what higher object," says Plutarch^* " could Nunui 
" have directed his attention, than to the cuhure of early infan- 
" cy, and to uniformity in the treatment of young persons ; in 
" the view of preventing the collision of different manners, and 
*' turbulency of spirit arising from diversity of nature ? Thus he 
" proposed to harmonise the minds of men, in a state of maturi- 
*' ty, from their having been, in childhood, trained in the same 
*' habits of order, and cast into the same mould of virtue. This, 
" independent of other advantages, greatly contributed likewise 
" to the support of the Laws of Lycurgus ; for respect to the 
" oath, by which the Spartans had bound themselves, must have 
" produced a much more powerful effect, from his having by 
" early instruction and nurture dyed in the wool., if I may use 
*' the expression, the morals of the young, and made them suck 
" in with the milk from their nurse's breast the love of his Laws 
" and Institutions." 

Here is a decision which completely condemns our mode of 
education, by pronouncing the elogium of that of Sparta. I do 
not hesitate a single moment to ascribe to our modern educa- 
tion the restless, ambitious, spiteful, pragmatical, and intolerant 
spirit of most Europeans. The effects of it are visible in the 
miseries of the Nations. It is remarkable, that those which 
have been most agitated internally and externally, are precisely 
the Nations among which our boasted style of education has 
flourished the most. The truth of this may be ascertained, by- 
stepping from country to country, from age to age. Politicians 
have imagined, that they could discern the cause of public mis- 
fortunes in the different forms of Government. But Turkey is 
quiet, and England is frequently in a state of agitation. All po- 
litical forms are indifferent to the happiness of a State, as has 

* Comparispn of JWima and Lvair^vs. 



S^rUDY XIV. 403 

been said, provided the people are happy. We might have 
added, and provided the children are so likewise. 

The Philosopher Laloubere^ envoy from Louis XIV. to Siam, 
says, in the account which he gives of his mission, that the 
Asiatics laugh us to scorn, when we boast to them of the excel- 
lence of the Christian Religion, as contributing to the happiness 
of States. They ask, on reading our Histories, How it is pos- 
sible that our Religion should be so humane, while we wage 
war ten times more frequently than they do ? What would they 
say then did they see among us our perpetual law-suits, the ma« 
licious censoriousness and calumny of our societies, the jealousy 
of corps, the quarrels of the populace, the duels of the better sort, 
and our animosities of every kind, nothing similar to which is 
to be seen in Asia, in Africa, among the Tartars, or among Sa- 
vages, on the testimony of missionaries themselves ? For my 
own part, I discern the cause of all these particular and general 
disorders in our ambitious education. When a man has drunk, 
from infancy upward, into the cup of ambition, the thirst of it 
cleaves to him all his life long, and it degenerates into a burning 
fever at the very feet of the altars. 

It is not Religion assuredly which occasions this. I cannot 
explain how it comes to pass that kingdoms calling themselves 
Christian should have adopted ambition as the basis of public 
education. Independently of their political constitution, which 
forbids it to all those of their subjects who have not money, that 
IS to the greatest part of them, there is no passion so uniformly 
condemned by Religion. We have observed, that there are but 
two passions in the heart of Man, love and ambition. Civil Laws 
denounce the severest punishment against the excesses of the 
first : they repress, as far as their power extends, the more vio- 
lent emotions of it. Prostitution is branded with infamous pe- 
nalties ; and in some countries adultery is punished even with 
death. But these same Laws meet the second more than half 
way ; they every where propose to it prizes, rewards and ho- 
nours. These opinions force their way, and exercise dominion, 
in cloisters themselves. It is a grievous scandal to a convent if 
the amorous intrigues of a monk happen to take air ; but what 
elogiums are bestowed on those which procure for him a cardi- 
nal's hat ! What raillery, imprecation, and malediction, are the 
portion of imprudent weakness ! What gentle and honourable 



404 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

epithets are applied to audacious craft ! Noble emulation, love 
of glory, spirit, intelligence, merit rewarded. With how man) 
glorious appellations do we palliate intrigue, flattery, simony, 
perfidy, and all the vices Avhich walk, in all States, in the train of 
the ambitious ! 

This is the way in which the world forms it's judgments; 
but Religion, ever conformable to Nature, pronounces a verj 
different decision on the characters of these two passions. Je- 
sus invites the communications of the frail Samaritan woman, 
he pardons the adulteress, he absolves the female offender who 
bathed his feet with her tears j but hear how he inveighs against 
the ambitious : — " Wo unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, for ye 
" love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and the chief 
" places at feasts, and greetings in the markets, and to be called 
" of men, Rabbi ! Wo unto you, also, ye Lawyers ; for ye lade 
" men with burdens grevious to be borne, and ye yourselves 
" touch not the burdens with one of your fingers! Wo imto you, 
" Lawyers, for ye have taken away the key of knowledge : ye 
" entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye 
*•' hindered ;" and so on.* He declares to them, that notwith- 
standing their empty honours in this World, harlots should go 
before them into the kingdom of God. He cautions us, in many 
places, to be on our guard against them; and intimates that we 
should know them, by their fruits. In pronouncing decisions so 
different from ours, He judges our passions according to their 
natural adaptations. He pardons prostitution, which is in itself 
a" vice, but which after all is a frailty only, relative to the 
order of Society ; and He condemns, without mercy, the sin of 
am.bition, as a crime which is contrary at once to the order of 
Society, and to that of Nature. The first involves the distress 
of only two guilty persons, but the second affects the happiness 
of Mankind. 

To this our Doctors reply, that the only object pursued in the 
education of children, is the inspiring them with a virtuous emu- 
lation. I do not believe there is such a thing in our Colleges as 
exercises of virtue, unless it be to prescribe to the students, on 
this subject, certain themes or amplifications. But a real am- 
bition is taught, by engaging them to dispute the first place in 

' Luke xi. 4,», &cc. 



STUDY XIV. 405 

their several classes, and to adopt a thousand intolerant systems. 
Accordingly, when they have once got the key of knowledge in 
their pocket, they resolutely determine, like their masters, to 
let no one enter but by their door. 

Virtue and ambition are absolutely incompatible. The glory 
of ambition is to mount, and that of virtue is to descend. Ob- 
serve how Jesus Christ reprimands his Disciples when they 
asked him who should be the first among them. He takes a 
little child, and places him in the midst : not, surely, a child from 
our schools. Ah ! when he recommends to us the humility so 
suitable to our frail and miserable condition, it is because he 
did not consider that power, even supreme, was capable of con- 
stituting our happiness in this World ; and it is worthy of being 
remarked, that he did not confer the superiority over the rest 
on the Disciple whom he loved the most ; but as a reward to the 
love of him who had been faithful unto death. He bequeathed to 
him, with his dying breath, his own mother as a legacy. 

This pretended emulation, instilled into children, renders 
them for life intolerant, vain-glorious, tremblingly alive to tlie 
slightest censure, or to the meanest token of applause from an 
unknown person. They are trained to ambition, we are told, 
for their good, in order to their prospering in the World ; but 
the cupidity natural to the human mind is more than sufficient 
for the attainment of that object. Have merchants, mechanics, 
and all the lucrative professions, in other words, all the condi- 
tions of Society ; have they need of any other stimulus ? Were 
ambition to be instilled into the mind of only one child, destined 
at length to fill a station of high importance, this education, 
which is by no means exempted from inconveniences, would be 
adapted at least to the career which the joung man had in pros- 
pect. But by infusing it into all, you give each individual as 
many opponants as he has got companions ; you render the 
Avhole unhappy, by means of each other. Those who are inca- 
pable of rising by their talents, endeavour to insinuate them- 
selves into the good graces of their masters by flattery, and to 
supplant their equals by calumny. If these means succeed not, 
they conceive an aversion for the objects of their emulation, 
which, to their comrades, has all the value of applause, and be- 
comes to themselves a perpetual source of depression, of chas- 
tisement, and of tears. 



406 STUDIES OF NATURE. 

This is the reason that so many grown men, endeavour to 
banish from their memory the times and the objects of their 
early studies, though it be natural to the heart of Man to recol- 
lect with delight the epochs of infancy. How many behold, in 
the maturity of life, the bowers of osiers and the rustic canopies 
which served for their infant sleeping and dining apartments, 
who could not look without abhorrence upon a Turselin, or a 
Despauter ! I have no doubt that those disgusts of early edu- 
cation extend a most baneful influence to that love with which 
we ought to be animated toward Religion, because it's elements, 
in like manner, are displayed only through the medium of 
gloom, pride, and inhumanity. 

The plan of most masters consists above all in composing 
the exterior of their puplis. They form on the same model, a 
multitude of characters which Nature had rendered essentially 
different. One will have his disciples to be grave and stately, 
as if they were so many little presidents ; others, and they are 
the most numerous, wish to make theirs alert and lively. One 
of the great burdens of the lesson is an incessant fillip of: 
" Come on, make haste, don't be lazy." To this impulsion sim- 
ply I ascribe the general giddiness of our youth, and of which 
the Nation is accused. It is the impatience of the master which 
in the first instance produces the precipitancy of the scholars. It 
afterwards acquires strength in the commerce of the World, 
from the impatience of the women. But through the progress 
of human life. Is not reflection of much higher importance than 
promptitude ? How many children are destined to fill situations 
which require seriousness and solemnity ? Is not reflection the 
basis of prudence, of temperance, of wisdom, and of most of 
the other moral qualities ? For my own part, I have always seen 
honest people abundantly tranquil, and rogues always alert. 

There is in this respect a very perceptible difference between 
two children, the one of whom has been educated in his Father's 
house, and the other at a public school. The first is beyond all 
contradiction more polite, more ingenuous, less jealously dispo- 
sed ; and from this single circumstance, that he has been brought 
up without the desire of excelling any one, and still less of sur- 
passing himself, according to our great fashionable phraseology, 
but which is as destitute of common sense as many others of 
the kind. I'^ not a child, influenced by the emulation of the 



STUDY XIV. 407 

schoob, under the necessity of renouncing it, from the verj^ 
first step he makes in the World, if he means to be supportable 
to his equals, and to himself? If he proposes to himself no 
other object but his own advancement, Will he not be afflicted 
at the prosperity of another ? Will he not, in the course of his 
progress, be liable to have his mind torn with the aversions, the 
jealousies and the desires, which must deprave it, both physi- 
cally and morally ? Do not Philosophy and Religion impose on 
him the necessity of exerting himself every day of his life, to 
eradicate those faults of education? The world itself obliges 
him to mask their hideous aspect. Here is a fine perspective 
opened to human life, in which we are constrained to employ 
the half of our days in destroying, with a thousand painful ef- 
forts, what had been raising up in the other with so many tears 
and so much parade. 

We have borrowed those vices from the Greeks, w ithout be- 
ing aware that they had contributed to their p